Saturday, February 04, 2006

Uncorrected Proofs, Bound Manuscripts, & Advanced Readers Copies

Before the publication of novels, publishing houses bind several paperback copies of the book and distribute them internally, to booksellers, and executive producers. These bound editions have several names depending on the time they are released. These books are distributed, for free, as a sort of "early announcment" for booksellers, and they are used to garner interest from Hollywood for those interested in buying the film rights to movies.


To the left is the uncorrected proof to Arthur Golden's Memoirs of a Geisha. Its fairly easy to distinguish an uncorrected proof from a bound manuscript or advanced readers copy because the proof is usually very basic in appearance. The cover is most likely a solid color with the title of the book and the author’s name. Usually on the front or back of the book, it can have information such as date of publication, first print run, and the formal announcement of the forthcoming book.



Depending on the buyer, this is the most desirable state of proof. It's too early for the book to have any art work, and there can be some significant changes in the text of the story. For the most part, proofs differ only slightly from the actual first printing of the book. I have never heard of a proof that has a total different story conclusion from the first printing; just minor changes in facts and possible word omissions to make the story flow easier.

Since these proofs are made for mainly in house viewing, there are few made and the quality is not the greatest. The binding usually breaks easy since the glue is cheap; and the paper covers damage very easily since they are not protected in any way from damage.














In this photograph, this shows two early editions of Janet Fitch's White Oleander. On the right is the bound manuscript - the left, an advanced readers copy. The bound manuscript is the rarest of all early editions. Basically, it is a photocopy of the authors actual manuscript - before editing, before any corrections. These types of proofs are rarely made, and when they are, they are made in such limited quantity that they rarely show up for sale on the secondary market. This is, in my opinion, the most desirable of any proof. It has the type setting of the authors typewriter/computer and is, in no way changed by editors or publishers.

To the right of the Fitch photo (and to the right of the screen) is the Advanced Readers Copy. This is the more common of all proofs and more available to buyers. This is basically what the paperback will look like once it is published. ARC's are the books have if you want to read the book early. I remember when Stephen King's The Dark Tower 7 book was due out, there was a bookstore near me selling the proof copy for well over $1,000. Not only did they sell it, but people were calling them for weeks to ask if they were getting another. The downfall is that the proof isnt worth 1/3 of the $1,000 initially paid. So basically the $1,000 is what you pay to read the book before everyone else. To some collectors – the price is cheap to read the ending to a book before anyone else.

John Hanic, one of the leading collectors in Stephen King proofs/ARC's/manuscripts says:

"I liked the idea of being one of the very few people in the world to have read his newest work before it was officially published. All these items are issued before the initial trade printing, making them the true first printing of the book."

The flip side to collecting books is that once you have the proof from the United States...you then have to buy the United Kingdom proof (the photo above is the UK ARC to A Million Little Pieces). For the most part, collecting the UK proof can be harder if you live in the US because it’s not a common occurrence for the UK proof to show up on the market. In addition, once you are familiar with the UK proofs - you then find different variations from all over the world.

"I decided to enhance my collection by trying to get all of King’s works in their proof form. I wanted both US and UK versions. I didn’t realize just how many and varied the items are, and how scarce information is regarding these. I am continually learning of new proofs that I didn’t know existed from numerous sources," says Hanic.

I would not suggest for a beginner to start collecting proofs right away. Proofs can cost a lot of money and isn’t the wisest choice to start a collection with. Get the first edition, and if its a book you love, look for the proof. It’s a great addition to any collection and is - in fact - the rarest form of your favorite book.

38 Comments:

Anonymous Catherine of the Jungle said...

How do people get these if they aren't for sale?

11:31 PM  
Blogger Book Collectors said...

A lot of times collectors know where to go. Ebay, rare book stores, ABEbooks, etc. Mainly online.

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Blogger Book Collectors said...

Thank you so much - trying to help those who might not know...so if you have any comments or feedback, let me know!

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Anonymous Paula Ann said...

I have 2 books that I would like to have appraised and will possibly be looking for a buyer. Where can I go to do that?

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Anonymous William .C.C. Cavanagh said...

I have the Uncorrected Bound Galleys for Charles B. MacDonald's book A TIME FOR TRUMPETS. MacDonald signed this "For my long time friend with every good wish Charles B. MacDonald". Are these collectible and is anyone interested in purchasing it ?
The ISBN for the published book is 0-688-03923-5. He also numbered ach pae in black ink.

6:00 AM  
Blogger Lee said...

New at this, need help - I have been casually collecting Sign'd 1st Edit.(Easton&Fnkln - Leather)for about 25 years. I woke up to the fact that I have 488 books that have never been read, in excellent condition. I am certain some of you realize what the cost was over time to me. My questions are what is the easiest way to have them fairly appraised, and where might I locate someone interested in acquiring the collection.

10:48 AM  
Blogger Lee said...

New at this, need help - I have been casually collecting Sign'd 1st Edit.(Easton&Fnkln - Leather)for about 25 years. I woke up to the fact that I have 488 books that have never been read, in excellent condition. I am certain some of you realize what the cost was over time to me. My questions are what is the easiest way to have them fairly appraised, and where might I locate someone interested in acquiring the collection.

10:48 AM  
Anonymous jmywhsprs said...

Hello,

I have recently come across
Into The Wardrobe C.S. Lewis And The Narnia Chronicles. It is a Uncorrected Proof. I was wondering if it is of any value

8:15 PM  
Blogger kirachka said...

How does one go about authenticating a signature? My family has a very old book with an inscription in it from a famous person. An art dealer tells me the book is very valuable but the problem is proving that the inscription is authentic.

12:03 AM  
Blogger Michael A. Smith said...

The last 20 existing hardcover sets of the Jeremiah trilogy are available at www.writermichaelasmith.com/book sale

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Anonymous Bruce Allured said...

I have a signed hardcover copy of "To Kill A Mockingbird" which was presented (along with tickets to the staged production in the old courthouse) to my father, Don Allured, when he was in Monroeville AL to lead a handbell workshop. It is a 1991 edition. I think it was issued as a 30th anniversary edition of the Pulitzer prize novel, since the front of the dust jacket is identical to the 1961 edition with the Pulitzer badge. It has some spine lean and minor edge waer to the jacket but is otherwise nearly perfect - I don't think it has ever been read through. Dad didn't even realize that Ms. Lee had signed it when he passed it on to me last month. It is signed simply "Harper Lee", underlined, in blue ink. It is for sale. Bruce Allured

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Blogger lbbnyc said...

Authentication of signatures can be a difficult matter. Provenance (the history of that particular book, where it came from, who had it signed, where, when, etc.) is useful, of course, but not always available. By comparing the signature you have with those available on-line you can make the first check. If the signature is quite obviously unlike any of those you check it against, you probably don't have an authentic signature. But you don't necessarily have one just because it looks a lot like the ones you see on-line. Good forgers often use the same on-line examples as their models, and sometimes a signature that looks exactly like one of the on-line examples can suggest that it is not authentic. Forgers do not ordinarily forge inscriptions, however, so if the book is inscribed (or even merely dated) the chances are rather better that the signature is authentic. Forgers also do not often have a sense of how large the signature should be in comparison to the page it's written on. I once had offered to me a perfectly believable-looking J. D. Salinger signature on a copy of Catcher in the Rye, but it was simply far too big (Salinger's signature is rather small and tight). For signatures which increase signicantly the value of an already valuable book (anything from Twain to Salinger to Cormac McCarthy) you might, in the end, take it to a reputable bookseller or to an auction house (i. e. Swann, Bonham's, or even Sotheby's or Christie's) to see if they will authenticate. If there is a possibilty that the book might be worth enough for them to want you to consign it to them for auction, they will no doubt do this for free. There are, of course, authors whose signatures are extremely rare, which include most pre-20th-century writers (less so for a few, such as Mark Twain--though you should be careful not to mistake his printed signature, which appears on a number of his books, with an authentic one). Scarce signatures by contemporary authors would include J. D. Salinger, Richard Powers, Cormac McCarthy, and, especially, Thomas Pynchon. Some writers, such as Robert Frost, John Updike, and E. L. Doctorow are quite easy to come by. They seemed to sign all the time. Genre writers seem especially common. I once listed an Anne Rice novel as a "rare unsigned copy." Forged signatures are, unfortunately, far more common today than they were even 20 years ago; this is because more people inclined to forgery now know that forging signatures on books can bring them a pretty penny, and because finding various examples of a signature is easy to do on-line. It didn't used to be quite so easy. Forgery is not quite as bad a problem (for booksellers at least) as people selling Book Club Editions as if they were authentic first editions, which is now rife, especially on eBay--sometimes consciously done and sometimes not--but it is still problem. If in doubt about a signature, the best thing for you to do is to at least take it to a reputable dealer who can tell you with some certainty that it's not authentic, even if he cannot tell you with the same certainty that it is.

8:29 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Does anyone know if there is a collector market for:

Lives of the Painters Sculptors and Architects by Giorgio Vasari - 4 volumes

All four volumes are hard cover and first edition books published in 1927

7:19 PM  
Anonymous Dawn said...

Where do I go...in the UK, to find the value of a proof copy.
The cover is not in great condition, it's discoloured and has spotted water marks around the edges, but inside is good.
The book is The Ringmaster by David Gurr...I'm not sure it's really worth much at all

11:20 AM  
Blogger gary t said...

hello i have a proof copy of richard llewellyn novel titled a house of many mansions i have looked on a few biographys of richard llewellyn and cannot see this novel on any list of novels he has written just wondering if this novel got published or if not do i own the only copy of this work

10:30 AM  
Blogger gary t said...

i have a proof copy of a richard llewellyn novel titled a house of many mansions i have looked on several biographies on richard llewellyn and when i see a list of his novels i cannot find this novel anywhere was wondering if this work ever got published and if not do i own one of the few copies

10:33 AM  
Blogger Lorinda said...

I have an uncorrected proof of "The Crippled Eagle" signed by the author Robin Moore and wonder what it is worth. Thanks Lori

4:11 PM  
Blogger Lorinda said...

I have an Uncorrected Proof of the book "The Crippled Eagles" and signed by the author Robin Moore. Wondering what the book might be worth. Thanks Lori

4:14 PM  
Blogger Jami Montgomery said...

Thanks so much for the information! I found an uncorrected proof of Maggie Stiefvater's Shiver at our local used book store for less than three dollars, and it's amazing! It even has her initials in the top corner with a small checkmark.

9:41 PM  
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6:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello, I am trying to figure out if a book called...American Prometheus The Triumph and Tragedy of J Robert
Oppenheimer which is a uncorrected proof printed in 2005 is worth any money. Not sure where to go to get the book checked out. If any one has anything to share with me or any suggestions I would appreciate it.
wendykrause125@hotmail.com
Thanks

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello i have a uncorrected proof of a book published feb this year would it be worth anything?

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