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Hello V & J:

Over the years I have been collecting, major changes have occurred in the real book industry - which I have been tracking of course. Now my signed book collecting is getting more difficult because of practices which have grown up around the signing process. In particular, tipped in pages, front end page signing, bookplates, stickers, photo produced signatures (hard to believe), speed signing. It is not difficult to imagine being an author faced with 500 pages on the desk for signing. Who would not then abbreviate their signature - I have, and I only sign documents and certified deliveries of books! (Spanish signatures incidentally, are often amazing works of art, commonly encircled several times, names extending to three full words or more, with more than a hint of arrogance). What is your take on all this? I am prompted to write as I am about to buy Brad Thor's Spymaster - You don't (yet?) have it available for pre-ordering. He gives the impression of being far too busy to travel around to signing events. I have three books in my cart, and I am guessing that one or more may not pass my buying criteria (no tipped in pages, no plates, title page signature preferred). As a suggestion, will you specify in the book description the mode of signature, and add photos of it and the copyright page?

Kind regards, Roger

John replies:
Hi Roger -

Unfortunately, the purist - one who only wants hand-signed books on the title page - (of which I am one) has to take the responsibility of determining that provenance on each and every book they purchase. This is problematic for the bookseller as well. We do not differentiate in our inventory between signed on the title page or tip-ins. The practice of using tip-ins has become wide-spread in the publishing industry and we do not know until the books are received what process has been used.

We deal with 100s of titles each month and have 10s of 1,000s of books in our inventory. We have considered, but have found it unreasonable and too costly to re-evaluate each title, as it is received. We do try our best to honor requests for TPO (title page only), as indicated in your account profile.

The practice of tip-ins is growing as authors have become unavailable for tours and bulk signings.

I wish I had better news - but Alas! It is Art of Book Collecting!


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