Why collect signed books? For most collectors signed editions are important because they confer a direct and tangible connection between the author and his/her work. Not only is this desirable for personal and aesthetic reasons, but a signed book is often significant because it is more rare than an unsigned trade edition and therefore more valuable.
Searching for signed books is quite easy on Biblio. You can either check the box that indicates signed on most search forms, or - after you have done a search - you can look in the left hand column for the link that allows you to refine your search to show only signed copies.
A word of caution: because computers are only so smart, they sometimes make mistakes. Biblio's search system is looking at millions of pieces of information from thousands of booksellers who each have their own way of saying things, so sometimes our search might inadvertently yield a false positive when searching for signed books. Therefore, we strongly encourage collectors to fully read the booksellers' descriptions before making a purchase on Biblio or any other site.
An inscribed book contains a short note or inscription to another person and is usually accompanied by a signature of the author or previous owner. While the latter is of course a detractor from the book's value, the former tends to add to its value. However, unless the book is inscribed by the author to another person of note or significance, an inscribed copy is usually less desirable than a signed copy. See our glossary for more information on inscribed books or our blog.
Coined by Stephen King, flatsigned merely indicates that the book contains a standalone signature without inscription or date. See flatsigned in our glossary.
A special type of signed book, an association copy is inscribed by the author to a person of historical or relative importance to the author's personal life or career. Association copies tend to be highly collectible, owing to their inherent rarity on the market. See association copy for more information.
The amount of value added by an author's signature varies widely, depending on the author, the collectibility of the book and scarcity of the signature. Some authors, such as Thomas Pynchon or Gabriel Garcia Marquez, are notably reclusive and as a result, their autographs are rare and worth a significant amount of money. If an author is no longer alive, this can drive up the value of their signature as well. Authors who frequently attend signings are likely to have less valuable signatures.
While there are a number of online sites (such as eBay) that may allow you to try and sell your books, selling a signed book can be difficult for someone new to the trade. First and foremost is the problem of authenticity. There are numerous forgeries on the market, and most seasoned book collectors are aware of this. Hence, they may be reluctant to pay full value for a "signed" book from an unknown person - or, to purchase it at all. We highly recommend to most individuals that they find a local, professional bookseller who specializes in signed books and either approach them with an offer to sell their book or to request an appraisal of the item prior to selling it.