Friday, December 12, 2008

12 Days of Books: Day 12

Gift Idea #12: A signed copy of a book (price varies dramatically)

Purpose: Fuel or start a booklover's collection

If you've only budgeted enough to give a single book, make your gift more special by seeking out a signed copy. Many bookstores, particularly those that host frequent author readings, offer signed copies of books for the normal retail price of an unsigned copy. If you don't have a local source, Powell’s is a convenient online source for signed copies. Check out the list of available signed copies, including Paul Auster's Man in the Dark, Amitav Ghosh's Sea of Poppies, Francine Prose's Goldengrove, and many, many more. If you want to make a big splash, spend more and get something really fantastic at Alibris. A signed, first edition of David Foster Wallace's Infinite Jest runs $1000-1500, depending on condition.

Better yet (well, maybe not better than a signed, first edition of Infinite Jest): Give a subscription to the Modern First Editions Club, the book-of-the-month club of the Poisoned Pen bookstore in Scottsdale, Arizona. Members of the club receive a signed, first edition of a literary novel every month. The selection is always great. You can check out the choices from prior years here. This year's picks included The Story of Edgar Sawtelle (before Oprah picked it for her book club) and the UK first edition of The White Tiger (before it won the prestigious Man Booker Prize).

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