Limited edition books: Is a lower number from the same printing better?
April 6, 2010 7:56 AM   Subscribe

I'm purchasing directly from the publisher one (of 500) of a limited, numbered edition of a book. The publisher has asked me to choose from the remaining available numbers (for example, to choose my specific book as it comes off the press from between 123-220, 432-468 and 481-499). Are lower numbers better, more valuable, sought after?

That is, if 25 years from now someone ran across two books from this printing side by side in a bookshop, would they be inclined to pay more for the 280th book off the press versus the one that was 499th off the press? And what about that last book, number 500? Any special value?
posted by cocoagirl to Media & Arts (5 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Well, usually, the lower the number, the better. But that tends to fade away once you get into the middle of the run. There might be some small additional value placed on the final edition, but I can't imagine it would be much.

However, the book has to actually be worth something in the first place. A limited edition does not, on its own, ensure any value. Book 7/500 of a book no one cares about is worth approximately nothing.
posted by Thorzdad at 8:44 AM on April 6, 2010

Yeah, what Thorzdad said. At this point, it probably does not matter that much what numbers you get.

Also, is this book a first edition as well as a limited edition? Is it signed by the author? Is the author or subject someone whose name has market value? First editions generally have more value in the long run, and signed first editions are also more valuable. However, if the book/author sinks into obscurity it will not matter all that much.

To put it another way, any signed or even unsigned first edition limited edition of a Stephen King book will be very valuable on the collector's market, assuming the condition is good. A signed first edition of a book by me (so very much not a famous person), even if signed by me and even if a it is a low number first edition/limited edition in perfect condition, will be worth little to nothing to anyone ever.

Here's a bit of info..
posted by gudrun at 9:11 AM on April 6, 2010

If the numbering doesn't matter, maybe you should get something memorable like 123 or 444.
posted by nomad at 9:32 AM on April 6, 2010

I wouldn't get 444, if resale value is important.
posted by pompomtom at 4:20 PM on April 6, 2010

Thanks all, and thanks for the link with additional info, gudrun. The book is a limited, numbered, "museum quality anniversary edition," from a fine press publisher. The author has corrected and added content, influenced the design and presentation, and commissioned new artwork for it. It is signed by both the author and artist. While the author is not ultra-popular, both the book and author are somewhat well known.
posted by cocoagirl at 10:58 AM on April 7, 2010

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