Collecting As Investment

Ed Lin at Penda Daily posted an article I really enjoyed  titled, "Making a killing off  Stephen King." (

Lin addresses special editions as investments.  Do  you think of your collection as an investment?  I have thought how difficult it would be to break my collection down and sell each piece on ebay.

Cemetery Dance sold the signed limited edition of Doctor Sleep for $2,500 with a print run of 52 books.  Even at that steep price, it sold out in 75 minutes.  Lin puts the pieces together, adding up that readers paid a total of $130,000 on PRE-ORDERS!  Pre-orders create lots of anticipation -- and sometimes you even forget what you bought.  I ordered a book called "Scream Plays" YEARS ago -- and am yet waiting.

Selling such nicely produced books with a very small print run creates what Lin calls a "instant rarity."

Lin writes:
“We’ve been publishing limited editions in the 500-to-2,000 copy range since 1992, and the market has stayed fairly strong even when the economy hasn’t been chugging along,” says Brian James Freeman, the managing editor. “We have witnessed other presses come and go over the years, but we have a strong base of collectors who have seen us through good times and bad.”

No matter what Freeman says about customers seeing CD through good times and bad, no one is buying books just to keep the publisher in business!  They are selling books because  they are producing something buyers want: A high quality product that is instantly rare by a beloved author.

Now, I have a first edition of The Shining, and was anxious for the Doctor Sleep signed editions to be offered.  However, when I saw the price of the signed editions (just the signed ones came to something like $350) I could not justify it.  I could afford it -- but I couldn't justify it.  Kids to send to camp, dance costumes to  buy. . . and I want a $350 book.  What's different about it?  King signed it.  Is a signature worth it?  I would argue not.  I own one item signed by King (Under the Dome), and that's enough for me.  (See my article:  Signed Books, Do They Matter? talkstephenking)

HOWEVER. . . if you are collecting to SELL, Lin points out that signatures might be well worth it!

By the way, I love special editions!  I think the IT edition by King was fantastic.  Also Full Dark  No Stars was a great production.  Simply put, buyers purchase from CD because they keep swinging home runs.

Lin offers the following "rough" guidelines for collecting special editions:

  • Sign up for the publishers’ email lists.
  • Acquire all the titles in a series. 
  • Buy books that you would truly enjoy owning.
The full article is HERE.


  1. Buying and selling signed Limited editions is interesting in that from one standpoint, you could argue it's just classic American business, no more or less.

    On the other hand, you could argue about leaching off the hard work of others, and I can't help except remember Bryant's post about "Limited Edition Hounds".

    All I can do is point out again that I got CD Anniversary Edition of It because I thought the story deserved such treatment, and never even thought of asking for a King signed copy, I wasn't even interested in an autograph, I just cared the story.

    I think it's a question of motive with people who buy and then sell limited editions.

    P.S.: I know this is way off topic but I had to post it, it's just too good and is the only advance I know of. Be prepared to enter the darkest vilest, most corrupted place on the fact of the earth. A land who's name strikes fear into the heart of all who here it.

    That place is.....

    Christmasland! (Aaaaaarrrrggh!).

    Here's popmatters on Joe Hill:

  2. I'm a reader, not a collector. I try to buy first editions when I can and will always opt for hardback over paperback. But I'm not much of a collector.

    I do have first edition SK books dating back to Four Past Midnight. I have a few autographed tomes -- mostly presidential biographies autographed by historians although I have THE LEGEND OF HELL HOUSE autographed by Richard Matheson which I treasure.

    My book collection stands around 300 volumes of horror, sci-fi, fantasy, a few mainstream fiction, about 40 presidential biographies and a couple shelves of American history. All are readers copies that I could get a few buck out of on Ebay or a used book store.