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About Buying Signed Books

An autographed book from your favorite author can turn an item of personal value into a cherished keepsake of financial worth. Whether one of hundreds or one of a kind, a signed book is a wonderful addition to any book collection.

When buying signed books, you should be aware of the following terms:

  • Signed by author: Book has been signed by the author.
  • Signed by illustrator: Book has been signed by the illustrator.
  • Inscribed by author: Author has written a personal note, in addition to signing.
  • Inscribed by owner, Owner's inscription, or Gift inscription: The previous owner of the book has added an inscription, i.e. if the book was a gift. These terms generally do not mean the book is signed by the author, so you should read the description carefully.

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AbeBooks' Bestselling Signed Books of November 2016:

The Underground Railroad, signed by Colson Whitehead The Underground Railroad

Signed by Colson Whitehead

The Pigeon Tunnel, signed by John le Carré The Pigeon Tunnel

Signed by John le Carré

Swing Time, signed by Zadie Smith Swing Time

Signed by Zadie Smith

The Sellout, signed by Paul Beatty The Sellout

Signed by Paul Beatty

March: Book One, signed by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin and Nate Powell March: Book One

Signed by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin and Nate Powell

The Intuitionist, signed by Colson Whitehead The Intuitionist

Signed by Colson Whitehead

The Whistler, signed by John Grisham The Whistler

Signed by John Grisham

Not Dead Yet, signed by Phil Collins Not Dead Yet

Signed by Phil Collins

More Bestselling Signed Books:

The Nix, signed by Nathan Hill The Nix

Signed by Nathan Hill

Barkskins, signed by Annie Proulx Barkskins

Signed by Annie Proulx

Homegoing, signed by Yaa Gyasi Homegoing

Signed by Yaa Gyasi

The Girl With the Lower Back Tattoo, signed by Amy Schumer The Girl With the Lower Back Tattoo

Signed by Amy Schumer

LaRose: A Novel, signed by Louise Erdrich LaRose: A Novel

Signed by Louise Erdrich

Living History, signed by Hillary Clinton Living History

Signed by Hillary Clinton

The Girls, signed by Emma Cline The Girls

Signed by Emma Cline

Vinegar Girl, signed by Anne Tyler Vinegar Girl

Signed by Anne Tyler

Zero K, signed by Don DeLillo Zero K

Signed by Don DeLillo

All the Birds in the Sky, signed by Charlie Jane Anders All the Birds in the Sky

Signed by Charlie Jane Anders

My Name is Lucy Barton, signed by Elizabeth Strout My Name is Lucy Barton

Signed by Elizabeth Strout

In Other Words, signed by Jhumpa Lahiri In Other Words

Signed by Jhumpa Lahiri

All the Light We Cannot See, signed by Anthony Doerr All the Light We Cannot See

Signed by Anthony Doerr

The Martian, signed by Andy Weir The Martian

Signed by Andy Weir

A Full Life: Reflections at Ninety, signed by Jimmy Carter A Full Life: Reflections at Ninety

Signed by Jimmy Carter

A Song of Shadows, signed by John Connolly A Song of ShadowsSigned by John Connolly

God Help the Child, signed by Toni Morrison God Help the Child

Signed by Toni Morrison

The Girl on the Train, signed by Paula Hawkins The Girl on the Train

Signed by Paula Hawkins

The Wright Brothers, signed by David McCullough The Wright Brothers

Signed by David McCullough

A Brief History of Seven Killings, signed by Marlon James A Brief History of Seven Killings

Signed by Marlon James

M Train, signed by Patti Smith M Train

Signed by Patti Smith

Purity, signed by Jonathan Franzen Purity

Signed by Jonathan Franzen

Beatlebone, signed by Kevin Barry Beatlebone

Signed by Kevin Barry

Hold Still, signed by Sally Mann Hold Still

Signed by Sally Mann

Curated Collections: Signed Books

More About Signed Books:

Signing a book is probably the simplest form of marketing that an author can perform. For the book's owner, an author's signature can instantly transform a mass-produced item into a personal treasure.

Getting a book signed-in person provides the opportunity to meet a favorite author and usually includes the chance to hear them read. Book signing events near you can be found in your local media or you can check author and publisher websites. Another great way to get your books signed is to attend book fairs and literary festivals. Both provide opportunities to have books signed by up-and-coming authors before they hit the big time.

But you can also buy signed books without meeting the author. Try rare bookshops and their catalogs, rare book fairs, and right here at AbeBooks. Generally speaking, signed first editions will usually be more expensive, while later editions signed by author are often more affordable.

Some authors tour regularly to promote their latest releases and will sign huge numbers of books (Salman Rushdie and Ken Follett are both prolific signers). Authors nominated for awards such as the Man Booker Prize or the Pulitzer Prize will also often sign many copies in the period leading up to and immediately following the announcement of the winner. When an author signs many books, those copies can be very affordable. Other authors tour much less after becoming hugely successful, making their signed books more scarce, and therefore (sometimes) more valuable. Obviously, the supply of signed copies comes to a halt - and their value often increases - with the death of an author.

Sometimes the signature of a famous illustrator can be as important as that of the author. Quentin Blake has illustrated and signed many of Roald Dahl's books, as has Hunter S. Thompson's illustrator Ralph Steadman. A book signed by both the author and illustrator is especially prized.

Read More About Collecting Signed Books

Watch: $25,000 for a Signed First Edition of Where the Wild Things Are

 

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