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What’s the Most You Ever Paid for a Single SF/F Book?

We seem to have a “cost of books” theme going with a previous tidbit (“Literary Kicks says Books are Too Damn Expensive“) and the recent post The Most Expensive Science Fiction & Fantasy Books Sold by AbeBooks in 2006. I thought you, dear, dear reader, might want to weigh in on the highest price you ever paid for a single science fiction or fantasy novel.

Me? I’m a biblioholic as opposed to a collector, so most of my book-buying dollar goes towards used science fiction, not collectibles. But back before I discovered the plethora of used bookstores in Houston, I did pick up a new (gasp!) copy of David Brin’s Foundation’s Triumph for around $24 in order to complete my pre-2000 Asimov Robots/Foundation reading project. There have been times when I thought about paying more for a book (a $300 set of sf reference books, a copy of the hard-to-find Year’s Best Science Fiction #1 by Gardner Dozois) but I could never bring myself to do it.

What’s the most you ever paid?

About John DeNardo (13013 Articles)
John DeNardo is the Managing Editor at SF Signal and a columnist at Kirkus Reviews. He also likes bagels. So there.

19 Comments on What’s the Most You Ever Paid for a Single SF/F Book?

  1. $40 for a 1960’s copy of Jack Vance’s Dying Earth.

    Ironically, and heartbreakingly, not long after I bought it, not only did I manage to lose the thing in a move, but the Complete Dying Earth omnibus came out from Tor.

  2. (Dang thing still keeps erasing my information!)

    Are we talking new book or old book. New book? Probably around $100 for an astronomy book.

    Old book (second-hand)? About $150.00. Guess what? It’s now going for several times that.

  3. $100 is not unexpected for, say, a college textbook, but I’m only asking about science fiction and fantasy books – new or used doesn’t matter.

    [FYI: Still need to look at the cookie thing]

  4. Jeff Patterson // January 31, 2007 at 8:18 pm //

    When I was dating my now-ex-wife, I bought her a copy of Long Afternoon of Earth by Aldiss. She like it so much, she decided to keep me.

    And I paid for it for thirteen years.


    Here all week, folks.

  5. Does this count? I was prepared to pay hundreds for a 1954 edition of Martin Magnus on Mars, but found one through my Abebook alert for just $10. The seller even refunded me a couple of bucks because the postage was cheaper than expected.

    I’d been looking for years, and I’ve not seen one since.

    (If you want the story on the Magnus books and my search for this particular one, it’s here)

  6. I have spent too much on hardcovers that I can’t “live” without, in the sequels that I get sucked into. I am especially I sucker for the Kevin Anderson and Turtledove stuff :(.

    but I have almost bid on Octavia Butler’s Survivor

    auctions, I get scared off when they breach $150. I keep hoping they will reprint them since its her only writing that I havent been able to read.

  7. Kyle Jelle // January 31, 2007 at 11:16 pm //

    When I was younger, I was an Ellison fanatic, and I really wanted to read Harlan Ellison’s Movie, which was only available as part of a signed and numbered slip-cased edition of The Harlan Ellison Hornbook. Found a copy at a con. Set me back $80. Of course it was released a couple of years later at a much lower price as part of the Edgeworks series. Sigh.

  8. Oh, dear. Confession time. I’ve spent US$1500 on four early Anne McCaffrey UK 1st editions. I’ve got quite a few books I’ve spent more than US$200 on…like a UK first of ‘The Reality Dysfunction.’

  9. Hmmmm….I know I paid around $50 for a copy of Jeremy Bulloch’s Boba Fett memoir, Flying Solo. I bought it directly from him and his darling wife at a comic convention a few years back right after it came out and he personalized it for me. Well worth the price.

    I am prepared to pay a stinking lot of money for the author’s preferred edition of Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman from Hill House Publishing whenever they get it done.

    I just paid a whopping $28 (including shipping to the US) for the anthology Time Pieces (edited by Ian Whates) from NewConPress that has all eight author’s signatures on it. I found out about that book from some site that I linked to from here. Looks fantastic. If you’re into collecting books that are signed I highly recommend it:

  10. Funnily enough, that would be the price I paid yesterday to pre-order Subterranean Press’s limited edition of George R.R. Martin’s A Feast for Crows: $260, not including shipping.

    Before that, the most I’ve ever paid for an SF/F book is probably $50, for another limited edition — the first edition of Katherine Kurtz’s Codex Derynianus from Borgo Press. Beautiful book, and one which went on to be worth an unsightly amount of money, apparently.

  11. Marc Waldman // February 1, 2007 at 11:25 am //

    The most I ever spent on a Sci Fi novel was on an ARC of Robert Jordans first Wheel of Time novel “Eye Of The World”. I spent $100.00.

  12. I’ve heard of people buying ARCs (Advanced Review Copies). I’m not sure I see the appeal. Is it to get the content before others? Is it impossible to wait a couple of extra months? Or are you buying it after the final copy is available and it’s just considered “rare”? They are usually just low quality paperbacks…is it worth the extra money?

    Then there is the flip side for the seller — selling ARCs is somewhat unethical, isn’t it? It was a freebie from the publisher meant for marketing purposes. Selling it seems wrong.

  13. Michael L. Wentz offers a thoughtful discussion on this publishing industry and prices.

  14. I do consider selling ARCs unethical…and buying them questionable.

    Of course, I’ve only managed to score two ARCs in my life time–a copy of Greg Bear’s Darwin’s Radio from Del Rey, and most recently Scent in the Shadows from Harperscollins.

  15. 75$ on a leather bound, gold embossed, sheathed copy of The Hobbit

  16. Peter Nel // December 9, 2008 at 1:52 am //

    $220 or thereabouts for the 2001 limited edition reprint of Ray Bradbury’s Dark Carnival, published by Gauntlet Press. I had been hearing about the book for decades, and even though I’d read 25 or 26 of the 27 stories in it, I still had to have it.

  17. I own a copy of Codex Seraphinianus, and it’s probably worth more now than I paid for it, but not much more.

  18. $40 to $45 each for a book by greg egan before the re-release, and ken macleod’s latest book on import. worth it!

  19. $4,000 for signed first edition hardcover Lord of Light by Roger Zelazny.

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