The Roundtable: Reading Signed Books

January 9, 2014 Round Table 16

Signed books! I love them and yet loathe them. Why? On the one hand, it’s like winning the lottery when you get a book signed. It’s your opportunity to fangirl / fanboy with the author about what a great book they wrote and you have something personal. Then I find myself with a slight problem especially when it comes to rereads and not wanting to touch the signed copy! I imagine a hundred years from now at an auction house a future descendant selling it and it not going for more because of stains or wear around the edges. Yeah I’m weird like that. Blame the historian in me.

Thomas Frognall Dibdin (1776-1847) once remarked that a gentleman needed three copies of every book: one for keeping, one for reading and one for lending. I’ve taken this to heart and own two copies, usually one digital, and one physical. It solves my conundrum of reading a signed book. And yet, I adore my physical signed copies. I always take great care when reading them even though at times I wish I could live dangerously and treat them like they weren’t extra special.

Do you read your signed copies or do you prefer to have an extra copy just for this reason alone?

16 Responses to “The Roundtable: Reading Signed Books”

  1. Francine Soleil

    I’m not here to scare you, but I totally read my signed books and even highlight them. 😛 I’m not really one to keep multiple copies of books. Unless I buy a book on sale for Kindle and then like it enough to have a physical copy. And I have this thing where I need to read each of my books if I get a different edition. Even if I’ve read it already. Is it weird that I like a book that looks well-worn?
    Francine Soleil recently posted…Affordable AdventuresMy Profile

    • Jessica

      Most of the books I get signed have been well loved (and you can see it). Some books are the same price as the Kindle option and I’d rather get the physical copy. I just need to get into the mindset that is okay to read signed books. You know, I don’t see anything wrong with reading different editions of books. 🙂
      Jessica recently posted…One Liners: Albert Camus’ The StrangerMy Profile

  2. Pam

    I only tend to get autographed copies of books that are my favorites and will reread them. I guess to answer your question I only have one copy but don’t eat or drink when reading them.

  3. Mike

    I don’t typically go to book signings despite living in an area where a lot of writers pass through, but I’d still read a signed book if I really enjoyed it because what’s the point of having a copy? Won’t it be lonely sitting on the shelf collecting dust?

  4. Lark @ The Bookwyrm's Hoard

    I read them – carefully. In a few cases, I’ve gone ahead and bought used paperbacks, if I re-read the book a lot. I’m not interested in preserving the monetary value, but I treasure the fact that the author signed it, especially if s/he personalized the signature, so I want to keep them nice. (Not pristine, just nice.) I was pretty upset when my then-2-year-old scribble in a signed David Eddings book, though! Now, well, it’s doubly precious.

  5. Nikki @ The Paper Sea

    I’m always careful with my physical books anyway — I don’t crack spines, I don’t dog-ear pages, etc. — but doubly so with my signed copies. Only the personalised ones though! I have six signed books, only one of which isn’t personalised. I don’t worry about reading them because of their potential value years later, but because being personalised makes them special to me on a personal level. So that one signed book I have that isn’t personalised (which I bought not because it was signed, but because it was a lovely limited edition hardcover) I’ll still be careful with, but if it gets slightly damaged I wouldn’t be as beat up as if I damaged the five that all say “Dear Nikki”!
    Nikki @ The Paper Sea recently posted…Book Review: More Than ThisMy Profile

    • Jessica

      I’m going to address the inscription process of signed books later in the week, but I agree with you what you say. In general, I don’t read signed copies since a majority are new, but I do have a few that were well loved prior to them being signed. In the end, I think hardbacks are easier to read especially when signed versus a paperback.
      Jessica recently posted…One Liners: Albert Camus’ The StrangerMy Profile

  6. Stephanie @ Inspiring Insomnia

    I’ve gotten a good amount of signed books recently, but I’ve read very few of them. For lack of time, more than anything else. But I get what you mean about not wanting to “spoil” these precious items! I recently purchased these gorgeous UK paperbacks of The Hunger Games series. With shipping, it wasn’t cheap buying them. And then when I received them, they were packed terribly and mangled, and I had to get a replacement. By then, all that trouble made them seem even more valuable, and I’m scared to touch them. 🙂
    Stephanie @ Inspiring Insomnia recently posted…Stacking the Shelves # 48My Profile

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