In publishing jargon, a proof is the preliminary iteration of a book, intended for a limited audience. Its purpose is to allow for final edits. The proofs can also help to build and maintain buzz about a book before its official release date, generate some early reviews and have potential readers eager to get their hands on the title.
If a book is successful and does well upon final publication, or if it goes out-of-print early but develops a fan-base or cult following, an uncorrected proof can become a valuable prize for collectors. Part of the appeal is their scarcity, and the fact that they will sometimes have slightly different text from the final piece.
The online arts and culture magazine Salon found our recent feature on Uncorrected Proofs and from their title (Would you pay $27,500 for book proofs?) outward they seemed a little shocked at the price some of these proofs can garner.
If you thought the hardcover edition of “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows” was expensive at $35, you may be in for quite a shock. Online bookselling service Abebooks recently scoured their partner stores’ inventories for rare review copies of literary masterworks; here we’ve highlighted ten of the most interesting items they found, from vintage Potter to Michener’s “Tales of the South Pacific.”
See our complete feature on Uncorrected Proofs