The Joy of Being Broke Thanks to Signed First Editions

Last Updated on August 21, 2020

As I get older I find myself enjoying less and less the sight of a thousand slowly yellowing paperbacks crammed onto a creaking, bent set of shelves and looking to spend a little more on collector’s pieces like signed first editions. I need something more permanent – something I feel will last beyond when they put me back in the mud, something I can admire and then maybe give to my kids one day down the track (probably for them to nod and then whisper to each other, “Why the fuck did he drag these around for all these years?” as they donate them to Vinnies).

Thing is, they cost an arm and a leg, especially posting things half way across the world to Australia, but bugger me are they worth it. They are gorgeous – beautiful editions signed and often lined and/or doodled by my favourite authors. I figure, some people have their cars, or their craft beer, or their Deadpool finger spinners… I have my books. I also figure, if you’re with me this far, your gorgeous collector’s tomes matter to you too.

My pretties…

There are a few shops that I favour when emptying my bank account quicker than that first beer after work on a Friday. Check them out below and jump on board the most bookish and moorish addiction out there.

Quill and Claw

Dean Clark over at The Quill and Claw Signed First Editions deals mostly in darker and grimdark fantasy, featuring limited editions from authors such as Joe Abercrombie, Mark Lawrence, and Robin Hobb. Q&C specialises in very limited editions with authors signing, lining, and doodling first UK editions and is my go to most times I’m looking to get a new display piece.

The Signed Page

If you are a Terry Brooks fan, look no further. As a personal mate of Brooks and previous bookstore manager, Shawn Speakman has some pretty serious pull in the SFF book world, and he’s used it to set up a magnificent online shop – originally to sell signed copies of Terry’s books to people who couldn’t make it to signings, and eventually expanding to a range of authors such as Naomi Novik and Jim Butcher.

Subterranean Press

These guys put out some fantastic special editions of SFF, chief favourite among them for me being The Heroes by Joe Abercrombie (the special edition that started this addiction for me). They have been getting broader and broader in their selection over the last few years I’ve been browsing their catalogue, adding books to my shopping cart, deleting them when I realise I should probably eat and pay rent first.

Grim Oak Press

Another Shawn Speakman page, Grim Oak Press is a kick arse special edition site, featuring its stellar Unfettered anthologies sold in support of Shawn’s upcoming Grim Oak Shield charity. Most recently I picked up a magnificent Broken Empire trilogy omnibus from their store – a beautiful showpiece book to sit alongside my growing shelf of Lawrence signed first editions.

Abe Books

I found these guys through a Google search while trying to source myself a signed first edition Broken Empire trilogy. They have some absolute gems, mostly of the used sort, but you never know what you’ll spot in there. Well worth a look.

Guys, if you love books in the same manner that I do, jump on these sites and check out their wares – there are some absolute gems just waiting to be wrapped in a dust jacket protector and placed on your shelf (in a dry spot out of the sun, of course).

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Adrian Collins

Adrian Collins

Adrian Collins runs Grimdark Magazine and loves anything to do with telling darker stories. Doesn't matter the format, or when it was published or produced--just give him a grim story told in a dark world by a morally grey protagonist and this bloke's in his happy place. Add in a barrel aged stout to sip on after a cheeky body surf under the Australian sun, and that's his heaven.