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VJ Books answers your questions about signed tip-ins

Welcome to our 21st article in our ever popular “Book Collecting 101” series!

This series of articles offers the book collector detailed information about many aspects of the book collecting hobby.

Since the beginning of publishing history tip-in pages have been a common element in book making. In earlier times tip-ins were an extra leaf between the pages of a book, often a color plate, an illustration, photograph, frontispiece or folding map. The practice was an expensive process and was found in higher priced volumes. In some instances the tip-in process was used to add a dedication page often including an author autograph.

This process has been used recently by most major publishing houses to make more signed editions available to collectors and readers. This has become the defacto standard for author autograph books. Large increases in shipping costs and damage during transit, have made sending completed books to authors for signing a thing of the past. Most authors are no longer willing to handle books shipped to them for signing. It is much easier for an author to sit down and sign a large quantity of tip-in pages than it is to unpack, sign, repack and ship boxes of books.

Specialty publishing houses like Cemetery Dance, Borderlands Press, Norwood Press, Gauntlet Press, Subterranean Press, Charnel House consider the tip-in process the standard for producing deluxe limited editions.

Books signed on the title page available from venues that host author events, or from retailers that have special arrangements with authors are becoming more infrequent. As a result "title page" signed books, while still sought after, are becoming scarce. Many specialty booksellers have begun differentiating between tip-ins and "hand signed" volumes, and are now charging a premium for the "hand signed" variety. Signed books from most big box stores are almost always of the tip-in variety.

The COVID19 pandemic all but eliminated author touring and special signing events. Publishers cancelled author personal appearances and are slow to reintroduce this process. The return on their investment in touring authors is quite small, and publishers have turned to social media to aid publicity for new authors and upcoming titles.

Somewhat similar to a tip-in, a bookplate contains an author’s signature and is pasted inside a book. For virtual events bookstores add bookplates to books being sold and promote them as autographed books.

Other publishers have moved to creating preprinted signing pages that have the appearance of title pages, but are still tipped in during or after binding. One publisher has a printed page that reads “This signed edition has been specially bound by the publisher.” It is signed by the author and tipped into the book. Some publishers actually replace the title page with one that has been printed later, signed by the author, and inserted in place of the original title page after binding.

Limitation pages are becoming more prevalent. This tip-in page states that the number of copies being produced and is signed by the author. “This edition is limited to 500 copies.” Such a page is a bound (or tipped-in) sheet that is part of a book's front matter. It is often inserted between the flyleaf and the half-title page. It is either added during the base manufacturing process or is added after the book has been bound.

Signed books with tip-in pages are fast becoming the standard in the industry. This is good news! More author signed books are available every season, providing the collector with every expanding opportunities to enhance their collections.

People buy artistic items, like collectable books, because they offer something that is out of the ordinary. It takes highly specialized tools, manufacturing techniques, materials, business connections, staff, and extensive know-how to produce a book that is both pleasing to the eye and sensual to the hand.

VJ Books continues to offer the most extensive variety of signed and collectable titles that the industry has to offer.

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