Sunday, August 26, 2012

Rapid-Fire Book Club, So How Much Do You Think It's Worth Edition

Yesterday I went into Madison for the farmer's market. During the day, I found one book that I figured worth a pickup: The Eastern Stars: How Baseball Changed the Dominican Town of San Pedro de Macoris, by Mark Kurlansky.

San Pedro de Macoris is an MLB factory. Dozens upon dozens of players have come out of the city, which is listed at about 264,000 people in population, a bit larger than Lincoln, Nebraska and a bit smaller than Plano, Texas. Among the locals: Alfonso Soriano, Fernando Tatis, Mariano Duncan, Guillermo Mota, Rico Carty, Luis Castillo, Sammy Sosa, Robinson Cano, Pedro Guerrero, Juan Samuel, Tony Fernandez, George Bell, Jose Offerman, Johnny Cueto, Joaquin Andujar, and Jose Valverde. (Lincoln, for comparison, has only sent ten players total to the majors, chief among them Alex Gordon and Joba Chamberlain. Plano has sent only a single player, pitcher Jordan Tata, whose career consisted of 11 games for the Tigers in 2006 and 2007.)

However, the book itself has an interesting little quirk to it: it's an advance copy. As you may have heard on any of the 62 billion 'here's a bunch of weird crap and how much money it's worth' shows (Antiques Roadshow, Pawn Stars, American Pickers, Auction Kings, etc.), book collectors look for 'first editions'. What is generally meant by that is the first published edition of a book. When people line up to buy the latest Harry Potter/Twilight/Hunger Games/whatever the hell book during a midnight release event, they're buying first editions. An advance copy comes before even that. They are the very first books off the press, sent out to reviewers, people who you're trying to get blurbs and endorsements from, the people in bookstores who make decisions on whether to stock it, people who need to see the book before release in an effort to have the word out when the book does get released. If a collector can get an advance copy, they will do so every time- there will be more errors and typos than in a release copy, but to a collector, that's actually kind of a good thing, like printing a stamp upside down.

Advance copies generally aren't supposed to be for sale. The one I've got says right there on the back cover, 'NOT FOR SALE'. But, well, you can see how well that works out sometimes, seeing as I've got one right here bought out of a bookstore. I wasn't even looking for one; that quirk just came with the book that I was going to buy anyway.

So how much do I think it's worth? About $7. That's what they charged me for it.

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