There are people in the world who love books – and there are people who would kill for books. In this hour of To the Best of Our Knowledge, the pleasures and perils of book collecting. We'll go on the road with veteran book buyers Lawrence and Nancy Goldstone. And, we'll meet the author of a spine-tingling psychological thriller set in the cut-throat world of Manhattan publishing.
Lawrence and Nancy Goldstone are book dealers and the authors of several books about book collecting, including most recently "Warmly Inscribed." They tell Anne Strainchamps what a first edition Harry Potter is going for now, and how the New England forger fooled the industry for a long time. Their advice if you're considering an expensive book purchase is to be careful and ask a lot of questions. (see below for more information.) Also, a spoof from Doug Gordon about what might happen if writing was covered like sports.SEGMENT 2:
Stanford English professor Jay Fliegelman loves to collect books that have a history. He tells Jim Fleming why he loves the marginalia and battered pages of his books; tells a story about Frederic Douglas; and claims that any serious book person will choose his collection over his spouse! Fliegelman is working on a book about his own collection. Also, novelist John Colapinto reads from and tells Jim Fleming about his book "About the Author," in which a writer steals a manuscript from his room-mate and claims it as his own.SEGMENT 3:
Kendall Taylor is the author of "Sometimes Madness Is Wisdom," - the most complete account yet of the marriage of Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald. Taylor tells Steve Paulson that the marriage was volatile from the beginning, doomed by her mental illness, his alcoholism and their adultery. But in the 1920s, Taylor says, Scott and Zelda were the Brad Pitt and Madonna of their days.Cassette copies are available at 1-800-747-7444. Ask for program number 01-11-18-B.
Lawrence and Nancy Goldstone say: The most valuable Harry Potter books are the very rare British first editions, currently valued at $24,000 and up. A first British edition of the second Harry Potter book is probably worth $10,000 or so. By the time you get to the fourth volume, it's worth the cover price.
The books most American readers will be concerned with, however, are the American first editions. If you have a first American edition (published by Scholastic) of the first Harry Potter Book (HP and the Sorcerer's Stone), it's currently worth $8-10,000. A first American edition of the second Harry Potter book is also valuable, though less so. The third and fourth books are not worth much more than the cover price. Reason? As the Harry Potter craze caught on, new volumes were printed in much greater quantities, so they're not as rare.
Again, the way to tell whether a book is a first edition is to look at the copyright page. At the bottom of the page you'll see a string of numbers. If there is a number "one" in that string, you're holding a first edition. (Note: this rule does not apply to ALL books -- different publishers use different methods to distinguish first printings.)
If you want to see what current prices are like for "hyper-modern" first editions, you can take a look at www.alibris.com - a good source for any more information you need on book collecting.
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