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Which Books Have You Bought More Than Once?

I’m not exactly proud of my biblioholism, it makes me do silly things in return for…well, I’m not sure exactly what it gives me besides pretty depressing Quicken graphs. One of biblioholism’s silly symptoms is buying multiple copies of books. Jim van Pelt recently blogged about books he’s bought twice, and I got to wondering about titles of which I own more than 1 copy.

I say “more than 1” because in some cases I own more than 2. Why would I own more than one copy? Various reasons, all of them illogical, so no need to try to convince me of what I already know. I’ve re-bought books because I found a better-looking copy; because I found one with an alternate cover; and because I was too lazy to go searching through my overwhelming pile of book boxes to find the title I wanted to read right away. (See aforementioned comment on biblioholism.) Most of my books were purchased at used bookstores, an economical method that allows my ridiculous level of book buying.

What are books of which I own multiple copies?

  • Dangerous Visions, edited by Harlan Ellison. I have a two hardback versions with different covers, two paperback version with different covers, and a few copies of the booksplit mass-market paperback floating around.
  • Several classic titles that were reprinted as part of:
    • The Science Fiction Book Club’s 50th Anniversary Collection.
    • Science Fiction Book Club omnibus editions, seen here (click for a larger version):
    • Gollancz’s Masterworks of SF and Masterworks of Fantasy series, seen here (click for a larger version):
  • A few copies of older Philip K. Dick books

…and I think I better stop now because I’m depressing myself, even more than those Quicken graphs do.

How about you? Which books have you bought more than once?

About John DeNardo (13012 Articles)
John DeNardo is the Managing Editor at SF Signal and a columnist at Kirkus Reviews. He also likes bagels. So there.

43 Comments on Which Books Have You Bought More Than Once?

  1. As far as I know, I’ve never bought multiple copies of a book unless I was buying them as a gift for a friend (which doesn’t really count).

    My parents and I as a whole have multiple copies of books, however–we’ve got a full set of US edition Harry Potters, and I’ve got my personal set of UK editions. I’ve accidentally bought copies of books that my dad had (a couple of the Silverberg Majipoor books, one of the Brin Uplift novels, etc.).

    I only have a couple omnibus volumes (a Verne set and the Wolfe New Sun 2-vol. set).

    I do have a second copy of Weber’s “Oath of Swords” since I wanted the “Sword Brother” novella and didn’t want to bother with the Weber reprint anthology “Worlds of Weber.”

    I might buy some new copies of books sometime in the future, though, to “even out” my bookshelves–I’ve got Robert J. Sawyer’s Quintaglio Ascension trilogy, but Books #1 and 2 are recent trade pbs and Book #2 is an older mass market. Makes me twitch!

    I’ll probably pick up the new Black Company omnibus sets that are coming out since trying to find a single book copy of a couple of the later Black Company have ridiculous prices.

  2. Mouldy Squid // January 6, 2010 at 12:17 pm //

    I generally buy extra copies of a book if I manage to run across the hardcover or trade format (if I own a mass market), or if there is a new editorial (such as when Lovecraft anthologies are released).

    The only book I purposefully buy extra copies of is The Silmarillion. I buy every edition I can find if I don’t already have that edition. So far I have 5 different mass markets (all with different cover art), 7 different trades and 3 different hard covers.

  3. There’s an ancient book I own twice. 5 copies bought by now- more will follow.

    Since I don’t speak chinese- let alone an ancient chinese- I bought an english version in China though already owning a german one.

    I didn’t have a copy with me and the english one was translated by chinese while the german one was translated by a european.

    Afterwards I read it again- 3rd time- and was amazed. As expected: Same thing everytime ^^

    3 other copies however were presents. Only for good friends and relatives of course- some knowledge is not to be known by fools and bad guys.

  4. My completely opposite opinion from yours on the Haldeman book doesn’t have you completely questioning my literary taste, my answer to this question  may just put you over the edge! (Keep in mind, I did really like Chasm City! ha!)

    Pretty much any time I come across a decent copy of The Adventures of the Stainless Steel Rat by Harry Harrison (contains the first 3 rat stories), I pick it up.  Over the years I find myself giving this away so I always have copies on hand.  I do the same thing with the  Brian Daley Han Solo books and Larry Niven’s A World Out of Time.  These are all books that made a big impression on me in my childhood/early teen years that I still am very fond of today.  So I buy copies when they are in good condition and sometimes I give them away but I always have more than one of each.

    A really corny book that I have multiple copies of is Alan Dean Foster’s Glory Lane.  One of my most memorable road trips in my freshmen year involved, among other things, reading a friend’s brother’s copy of this book.  I’ve read it since and it is very dated and cheesy, but the book itself brings back such fond memories and if I come across a really good copy with the embossed lettering I always pick it up.  I have about 5 in my basement right now.

    I’m such a big fan of Neil Gaiman that I have most of his works in multiple versions: hardback, paperbacks, and audio versions.

    My latest multiple book purchase was to pick up a copy of Ekaterina Sedia’s The Alchemy of Stone.  The re-released it in trade with a new cover and I like both covers so much I decided I wanted them both!

    My bibliomania knows no bounds!


  5. It’s funny because I was just thinking about this yesterday when I ran into one of my favorite books, A Year in Provence, in a secondhand bookstore. Although I’m pretty tight on cash, I was extremly tempted to buy the book, even though I already own two copies. One reason is because  I can then freely lend out the extra copies to friends or I even give a copy away to someone specially deserving. The other reason is that finding my favorite book in a random pile of books in a bookstore is like running into a good friend unexpectadly, and I just want to take it home with me.

    In the end I convinced myself to leave the book in the store, hoping that someone else will come along who will give it a good home.

  6. These:


    “Bluebeard” by Kurt Vonnegut

    “The Glass Bead Game” by Hermann Hesse

    “Master and Margarita” by Mikhail Bulgakov

    Collected Works of William Shakespeare

    several versions of Goethe’s “Faust”


    “Don Quixote” – I bought the Spanish edition with Dali illustrations just for the illustrations.


    I will at times buy an alternate edition of a book just for the illustrations, or for a better translation.

  7. I’ve bought books twice (and thrice!) by accident.  Some book will be on my mental To Read list, and I’ll see it for 50 cents at a used book store and before I know it I’ve got 3 copies of Caves of Steel, none of which will ever get read, let’s be honest.

    Another reason is that I give away books.  I’m always having to replace my copies of Dune, Hyperion, and Ender’s Game (Ender’s Game is a good gateway book)


  8. I have at least five different editions of Jeff VanderMeer’s CITY OF SAINTS AND MADMEN, three editions of his SHRIEK: AN AFTERWORD, and a couple of editions of his new novel FINCH.

    Oh, and we have the American and the British versions of the Harry Potter books.

  9. I fell like I’m behind since I don’t have multiple copies of things. The only books I can remember buying twice are a few that I bought in hard back (I didn’t want to wait for the paperback version), which I later replaced with a used paperback version (I sell or give away the hard back copy).

    I don’t mind having books in a series come from different print runs, but it bugs me to have 4 paperbacks and one hardcopy-not to mention the space & organization issues that presents.

  10. On two separate occasions, I bought used copies of Verne’s Journey to the Center of the Earth. One hb edition with no jacket ($1); one pb Walmart reprint version ($0.50). Both times, I remember thinking, “That’s a pretty good deal.”

    I received a boxed set of Tolkien’s The Hobbit and LOTR (pb) when I was about 10 or 11. I read the set two or three times over the course of about 20 years. When I returned to it again in the early part of the decade (to reread before the movies came out, of course), I discovered the pages were falling out of Fellowship. I didn’t even crack the other three volumes and went straight out and bought the movie edition pb in one volume. Wanting to read it before she saw the first film and simultaneously not knowing that I had already bought a new copy, my wife picked up the same movie edition pb a few days later, making a total of three in the house for LOTR. I also picked up a boxed, illustrated, hb edition of The Hobbit at some point, bringing the total to two for that book.

    Non-genre, but at some point my wife and I discovered that we owned two pb copies of Russo’s Empire Falls. I think one of them came from a garage sale. Great non-genre fiction, btw.

    I always pick up second copies of some books if I find ’em cheap in used bookstores. Hyperion is a good example. That’s just a fun book to have on hand to give someone without having to worry about it ever coming back. 🙂

  11. I’ve been collecting and reading since the late 1960’s; as a result, I have multiple copies of some of Edgar Rice Burroughs books, Michael Moorcock, Jack Vance, Isaac Asimov, Perry Rhodan (first/third printings with different covers), and many others too numerous to count.  Currently I am purchasing harcover editions of PG Wodehouse books I have in trade.  Sometimes I buy duplicates due to new covers, or revisions (as in the case of Moorcock), or because I wear them out (like the Dangerous Visions collections); other times I just forget that I had purchased the book previously (so I’m getting forgetful; I’m old).

  12. Rick York // January 6, 2010 at 5:08 pm //

    So, do you mean multiple copies at one time or serial copies, i.e. one loses or gives away a book and then rreplaces it?

    If the latter, then I’ve owned at least a dozen copies of Dune, including the orginal serialization in Analog and the original paperback (I believe it was only published in paperback originally.  Most SF was until the 70’s).

  13. Everything by H. P. Lovecraft and Ian McDonald (I have seven copies of Desolation Road and five of Necroville), Charles Stross’ Accelerando, John C. Wright (RIP)’s Golden Age Trilogy, and Ray Kurzweil’s The Age of Spiritual Machines and The Singularity Is Near–both of which I’ve bought countless times because I keep loaning them to friends, who instantly become transhumanists, and refuse to give me the damn copies back. Small sacrifice to pay for opening up someone’s mind. 🙂

  14. I’m probably in there with the oldest duplicate, Tom Swift Among The Firefighters (1921).  The only other duplicate that I have is The Macabre Reader edited by Donald Wollheim (1959).  The former was an oversight.  The latter wasn’t.

  15. Too many to count.  When I moved overseas, I put almost all of my books into storage, thinking that I’d return after a year, or two at the most.  Here I am, eight years later, and the books are still in storage.  So I’ve been slowly rebuilding my collection.


  16. I’ve bought multiple copies of “The Men in the Jungle” by Norman Spinrad for the purpose of giving it away to other readers of science fiction.  This novel is not for the timid.

  17. The Hobbit.

    Lord of the Rings.

    Anything by Edgar Rice Burroughs.

  18. I’ve bought multiple copies of Dune and a few of the original sequels. Also a couple of copies of Lord of the Rings — another book/series worth more than one read. I bought a cheap paperback copy of Red Red Dragon as a reading copy, though I also had a decent hardcover copy.

  19. Let’s see:

    — I have five sets of The Lord of the Rings trilogy: one pocket set, one trade set, two three-volume hardcover sets, and one big illustrated edition.   I have three editions of The Hobbit: one pocket, the annotated edition, and the companion illustrated hardback to the LotR one.  The pockets are loaners, the trades my portable reading copies, and the hardbacks are for admiring.

    —Two copies of Nova in paperback: one signed, the other a knock-around reading copy.  The same goes for Little, Big, except that they are both hardcovers.

    —Two copies of the Wild Shore, one pocket (the Ace), and a trade copy.  

    —I always have at least two copies of To Kill a Mockingbird and Frankenstein on hand, so that I have one to give out when required.  Since I work at a used bookstore it’s easy to get cheap copies to hand out.

    —I have duplicate copies of Fortress of Solitude because I bought one and got one as a gift later.  

    —I have duplicate copies of several Heinlein novels, because I never seem to catalog them and when I see one I’m not sure I have I snag it.

    —I have two copies of The Forever War, one of which is the definitive text.

    — I have two copies of Othello, one a pocket that is full of scribbles, and the Norton Critical Edition.  Sometimes I use both at the same time.

    —Three copies of Understanding Comics: my annotated and tabbed teaching copy, a reading copy, and a copy to place in the library for students when I use it in a course.  The same is true for Geertz’s Interpretation of Cultures and Jeff Greenwald’s Future Perfect

    —Being a DM, I have three copies of the 3.5 Dungeons & Dragons Player’s Handbook, so that players who forget theirs have a copy on hand. 

  20. Seeing your bookshelf makes me feel better about mine…

    I stuff each shelf, stacking and re-stacking, some this way, some that, to get as much as possible onto each one…

    ANYWAY, I have multiple copies of several books.  Sometimes, it’s because I’m scatterbrained enough to have FORGOTTEN that I already have that book.  Other times, it’s because someone else bought the book for me AFTER I’d already gotten it and sometimes, there’s a good reason for the second copy.

    First up:

    The Wheel of Time.  Notorious for crappy covers that fall apart once you read them, my paperback copies of the entire Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan have seen better days.  When I found out that this curiousphenomenon was quite widespread, I decided to purchase new copies.  This lead me to just spend the cash on hardcovers, which are better anyway, especially since I want em to last.

    The Lord of the Rings.  When my 6th grade teacher introduced me to this series because she felt I was too bored with school and not appllying myself because of that, I fell in love  Soon, I had one of those little sets you could buy with The Hobbit & the Lord of the Rings altogether  Unfortunately, rereading the series once a year ever since (for the most part), weathered them very quickly, so I bought another set, then wore those out so now I’m on my third copy.  But I haven’t tossed the others… 🙂

    Voyage of the Foxrider.  This little tome by Dennis L. Mckiernan (if you don’t know him, you should check him out), is a favorite of mine.  When I thought I lost it, I went out and got another copy.  Of course, this meant that I found the original copy soon thereafter…

    The Courtship of Princess Lea.  For some reason, people liked to buy me this book as a present, therefore I have three copies.  Strange.  Maybe they’re trying to tell me something…

    The Han Solo Triology.  I bought this the first time I saw it – long before Timothy Zahn’s ‘Heir to the Empire’ ushered in a plethora of Star Wars novels, this series was one of the few novelizations out there and it was a blast.  Years later, a set of the original books came into mypossession.  Neener Neener.

    Spock’s World.  I made the mistake of lending this book to a neighbor.  Usually I don’t loan books, but this guy kept begging and begging and so I relented.  When it looked like he was never going to give it back, I had to go get another copy cuz, I mean – COME ON!  IT’S SPOCK’S WORLD!


  21. Good Omens by T. Pratchett and N. Gaiman is a book I’ve bought twice for myself, and a few times as gifts for friends.

  22. Not counting the Kindle Books I’m not acquiring I’d say I STILL have bought multiple copies of multiple books (it’s really ridiculous at this point). I tend to buy annotated copies if I can find them; also, sometimes if I have a signed hardcover, I’ll buy the paperback when it comes out. Sometimes, I just plain old don’t like the print on a book I own, so I buy a different version. Oh, and don’t even get me started on all the graphic novels I’ve bought even though I own the single-issue comics.

    Hobbit, LoTR, Harry Potter, all Neil Gaiman and Clive Barker books, the first Dune book, Sherlock Holmes, Poe, Moby Dick, Watchmen, The Bible, a lot of the Star Wars books (adaptations & expanded universe).

  23. I have two copies of

    “Gardens of the Moon” by Steven Erikson; and

    “The Reality Dysfunction” by Peter F. Hamilton.

    I read these books years after they were orginally released so only the MMPBs were readily available. I enjoyed them so much (Malazan Book of the Fallen by Erikson is my favourite series of all time) that when Subterranean Press released Limited Hardcover Editions of each I had to have them as well (and they are gorgeous versions). For the same reason I will soon have a limited SubPress edition as well as a MMPB version of “The Blade Itself” by Joe Abercrombie.

  24. There have been many duplicates here and there over the years, but the following have been purchased more than twice on purpose:

    Animal Farm

    Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

    The Hobbit

    Ender’s Game

    I have a tendancy to loan/give these out more often than others and naturally have to replace them.

  25. The Anubis Gates by Tim Powers
    Little, Big by John Crowley (the Methuen papepback edition had such a minuscule text size causing both splitting headache and stuporous sleep, so I had to get a standard pb copy)
    Gravity’s Rainbow by you-know-who.
    I have also 2 DVDs of Peter Greenaway’s “8 1/2 Women”. Curiouser and curiouser…

  26. Why did Derek C. F. Pegritz above say “RIP” after John C. Wright’s name? As far as I can tell, the man’s still alive.

  27. I am bad in this regaurd. Just about anything that I have signed I have multiple copies of and even worse I have been getting into uncorrected proof (arc) copies so I have 2 copies of all of F Paul Wilson’s Repairman Jack books and The Adversary Cycle and 3 copies (arc, Signed First, and reading) of all Bradley Denton’s with the exception of the limited only books. Habitual buying also has netted me multiple copies of alot of Heinlein, Herbert and Ellison books.

  28. @Derek C. F. Pegritz: John C. Wright (RIP)’s Golden Age Trilogy

    Ummm, I believe Mr. Wright is still among us.

  29. I inherited very old and worn copies of “Dune” and “A Canticle for Lebowitz” from my dad, the latter missing the back few pages. I bought replacement PB copies for both of those so I could read them on the train without worrying about damaging them. I did the same for Kim Stanley Robinson’s “The Years of Rice and Salt” so I could re-read it without wearing my pristine HB copy down. I accidentally bought two copies of “The Forever War” in PB, both masterworks editions, although they have different covers (in my defence). I may buy UK PB editions of Charlie Stross’ hidden family series, when they get around to being published (my first copy is the american editions already published).

    I bought a german-language edition of a Pratchett book I owned in English, to see if I could understand it (answer: no)

    I have at least three copies of “Day of the Triffids”: an original worn penguin PB, a more recent PB from the last 10 years or so (fetching green cover with cartoony people), and a copy of the most recent re-issue which came as part of a complete set of Wyndham novels I won in a competition.

  30. -Stranger in a Strange Land – variant editions and lending copies

    -The Stand – book club editions (the Wrightson illustrated edition is still one of my favorite books)

    -Ace editions of REH’s Conan books – because somebody stole my first frabjabbin’ copies.

    -Oddly, Level 26 by Anthony Zuiker – just because it makes a good fallback Xmas present.

    -Atlas Shrugged and Fountainhead by Ayn Rand – different editions, and extra copies to give away.

  31. Silverlock, John Myers Myers. I bought a couple of used copies because I kept losing them, and its damn good. I also re-bought it when it was re-published in HC recently


    The Well Favored Man, A Sorcerer and a Gentleman, The Price of Blood and Honor. I bought this in HC after first finding them in PB.


    I also have a couple of copies of various other books, ranging from City of Saints and Madmen, to Lord of the Rings.

  32. I have multiple copies of Sharon Lee and Steve Miller’s Liaden Universe books. I have the original paperbacks, the new issue paperbacks, the trade sized omnibuses, any available hard covers, and I recently purchased the ebook versions for my Kindle. I will not be without my Liaden fix no matter where I go.

  33. I buy multiple copies of Tim Powers’ books, because I want copies on hand to lend when my friends, intrigued by my glowing recommendations of him, ask to borrow them.  I didn’t do that at first, until a former friend lost my first edition of On Stranger Tides.  He was getting a divorce, and in the heat of the property division meeting, he told the ex she could take all the books in the house.  By the time he admitted losing my book, the ex had dumped all the books at Goodwill. 



  34. At least 4 sets of Harry Potter; multiple of Heinlein, Mieville (here it’s American & British versions), Stephenson (again, American & British versions), Steinbeck, Lord of the Rings, Hobbit (at least 2 of the 1964 mass paperback edition), War & Peace (one in Russian which I started reading in high school), Exuprey’s The Little Prince; Ian McDonald; Seutonius’s The 12 Caesars; AnneMcCaffery’s dragon series; Mercedes Lackey’s Valdemar series; and shakespeare collections.

    I’m sure I have lots more, but I’d need to go through the 200 boxes of books in storage to see.

    I, too, buy a second copy if it has a new cover that I like or to have both a hardback copy and a paperback copy. But there’s another reason no one has mentioned yet – as I get older, I find it harder and harder to read small print with barely any leading. So if a 7×9 (trade paperback?) size comes out, and all I have is the small mass paperback, I’ll buy the 7×9 version with its larger print and much larger leading.

  35. I have 2 copies of a number of the Discworld books.  This is because I mostly have the U.S. covers, so when when I can acquire the UK Kidby and Kirby covers I do.

    Also, for some reason, I keep forgetting I own The Tenth Annual Edition Years Best SF edited by Judith Merril, so I keep buying it at the Arlington County Library Sale.  I managed to stop myself when I hit 4 copies, and did end up giving 3 of them away, so I no longer have multiple copies.

    Otherwise, I mostly buy replacement copies for books where the spine/stitching/glue is going, hut the collector in me won’t let me give up the other copies (I’ve got multiple Zenna Henerson People books because of this)


  36. Wow — I never realized so many people re-bought books.

    Sounds like The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings and Dune are often re-bought.

  37. frienetic // January 7, 2010 at 3:51 pm //

    I must also add Ender’s Game to my list of multiple purchases mostly due to the need to replace.  It’s a problem to get that book back sometimes, and it’s always good to have a good paperback reading copy.  To this day I’ve probably purchased it four times. 

    I also currently own Ender’s War, which I believe is a hardcover book club edition containing Ender’s Game and Speaker for the Dead.  Of course I must also mention that I also own another reading copy of Speaker.

    I have two copies of Day of the Triffids, one in hardcover (off ebay) and one paperback (spotted at used bookstore and had to pick it up because I couldn’t remember if I got the one off ebay).  Again reader’s copies are good to have.

    I think that’s about it.

    Oh, and I’m also a fan of McKiernan (props Patrick Hester) and have I believe three copies of his graphic novel Tales from the One-Eye Crow, mainly because I thought is was rare and valuable.

  38. Peter Nel // January 7, 2010 at 5:38 pm //

    I don’t have multiple copies of many books, but I can claim to have bought exactly the same book – the same copy – twice.

    In 1974, I bought a Sphere paperback of The Science Fiction Hall of Fame, Volume 1, edited by Robert Silverberg.

    I loved that book, and about six years later I bought another paperback copy, this time by Avon. I gave the first copy away.

    Then, I bought a nice hardcover of the book a few years ago, and again I gave the old Avon paperback away to a friend. About 6 months later I was browsing in a local book exchange, when I saw my old Avon book there. Evidently my friend didn’t love it as much as I do, and exchanged it. It was unquestionably my book, because it was pockmarked from lying on the gritty garage floor under a pile of books for several years. It was like coming across an old friend, so I bought it back. It was really cheap, so I didn’t feel silly or guilty doing so.

    I think that makes four times I’ve paid for the same book (including twice for the same copy!).

  39. Over the years, I’d read my paperback copies of LOTR to the point where the spines were falling apart and I had to buy a new set. Hyperion got the same treatment.

    I have 2 copies of Bradbury’s The Halloween Tree. The first was a battered paperback I bought in a used bookstore. The second is a beautiful, new, illustrated hardcover edition I found a few years ago and just couldn’t pass it up.

    Then there’s The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. I’ve got a nice, leather-bound omnibus edition that I read once in a while, but a while back my wife decided she wanted to read the series, but couldn’t be bothered to lug the hardcover around, so I bought her the individual paperbacks.


  40. @Peter Nel: [Sniff] …that sounds like a movie starring Jessica Tandy. 🙂


    Seriosuly, The Science Fiction Hall of Fame, Volume 1 is one of the best anthologies ever.  I also own a few Avon copies, and the recent Tor reprint in hardback.  Cause you never know, I might start Jonesin’ for it while I’m next to that shelf instead of the other shelf 40 feet away that holds the other copy…

  41. mmmm multiple copies of multiple things, but of particular note:


    numerous copies of numerous novels and ss collections by A. Bertram Chandler

    numerous copies of several things by Heinlein – can’t resist a first paperback printing of his stuff

    same for Niven

    same for Eric Frank Russel, H. Beam Piper, Fredrick Brown,a few others

    and inadvertently for Turtledove

  42. Ratitia Ratrat // January 10, 2010 at 1:33 pm //

    A friend was going to buy me a new copy of a book I lent her, becasue as she read it, it got a ery slight crease in the back binding. I told her she was nuts.  – just return it, it’s meant to be read, not put in a museum. – (although I wouldn’t want to get it back in pieces with coffee rings on it)

    Ratitia ratrat

  43. OK, seriously, I need professional help.  This past weekend, I bought *another* copy of Dangerous Visions.  My justification: it was only 75 cents.  On the bright side (like there is one) it’s a MMPB version that contains the whole edition, not the booksplit version.

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