The signed book has become the pinnacle of book collecting. It combines the aspects of two different hobbies, books and autographs, into one huge field of interest. As with any new specialty many questions arise: where should it be signed; what about inscriptions or dedications; what's authentic; and much more. You may find some of these questions and answers helpful as you move into collecting signed books.
We don't suggest personalized messages for a couple of reasons. First, unless you have the name of the person to whom the book is personalized, it can actually devalue the signature. Second, getting signatures is tough enough, without asking them to write even more.
I have noticed a few authors offering signed bookplates on their websites for those unable to attend book signings. What does VJ Books think about this practice and the comparative worth of a bookplate signed edition vs an identical signed one. - Brian
The question often comes up about the value, or relative value, of books signed other than on the title page. While any signed book is more valuable than an unsigned book (same book, same edition, same condition), a pecking order seems to have emerged. The most valuable is clearly hand-signed (free of inscription) on the title page, followed by hand-signed anywhere on the book, followed by a signed tip-in page (a page that has been bound into the book), followed by a book-plate (laid in; not attached), finally, followed by a signed book plate attached to the book.
Of course, value is determined by the relative scarcity of the book and the availability of the author to sign. As either becomes more difficult collectors become more forgiving about the type of book that they acquire for their collection. A month ago we had beautiful copies of Michael Crichton books in our inventory with book plates attached. They had been on our shelves for quite sometime. They are now gone.