Wednesday, February 4, 2009

What do you reckon a first edition, signed Harry Potter is worth?

Feb. 4, 2009
Posted by Noah

I can’t really guess, and I’m probably the wrong person to ask about this. Anyone in our Rare Books and Manuscripts department could hazard a good guess. All too soon we’ll find out exactly what it’s worth to any number of determined collectors when a book that fits the description in the title of this post actually comes across the block. March 6-7, I believe. It’s a rare softcover, it’s got the impeccable condition and it’s got all first issue points and a card on the inside front, with the cover art on it, signed by Rowling. It will, without a doubt, bring a pretty penny. There are only a handful of these softcovers out there so it’s an important volume, at least to this day and age. I think I speak for almost every writer on the planet when I say: Man! I wish I had written those books.

To be honest with you, and I am most likely in opposition to many, I wasn’t so crazy about the Harry Potter books. You can’t fault the storytelling, I know, but you can fault the writing, and I found myself repeatedly little compelled by Rowling’s prose. The tales are easy to enjoy, like a candy bar, and ultimately just about as filling. The movies have gotten better as time has gone by. I don’t know about the books. Time will be the judge. Will our grandchildren be reading Harry Potter in a couple of decades, or will they be watching it? I’m just saying…

My tastes in literature are many, but when it comes to sci-fi and fantasy I will usually choose sci-fi, and I will snap up most any dystopian futuristic novel in a second – favorite books and authors are a different discussion altogether – and speaking of sci-fi, and the March Rare Books Auction, there’s another cool bit there, too, with the original handwritten manuscript for A Prelude To Space by Sir Arthur C. Clarke. Again, not really my cup of tea in terms of Clarke – the book reads like an instruction manual, which in a way it is – but it’s rare that something so specific to the process of a master is so readily accessible, and it shows the remarkable order with which Clarke wrote. Click on the link above, in this graph, to check it out.