How To Plot A Profit From A Literary First Edition

Forget shares and look on Amazon for first editions of award winning books to make returns of more than 800%.

A new study has revealed buying the UK’s Man Booker Prize winner first editions gives an average return on outlay of £152.19.

And the returns are astonishingly better than investing at the early stages in technology giants such as Microsoft.

Some books even produced a fantastic 826% of as much as £2,435.

The research found that every Booker prize winner over the past 15 years had appreciated in value.

The 2015 winner A Brief History of Seven Killings by Marlon James has soared the most with a 7,009% (£400) increase on its original recommended bookshop price.

Tips for book collectors

The biggest earner is Hilary Mantel’s 2009 prize winner Wolf Hall, turned into a major TV series last year.

A first edition signed by the author fetches £1,100 – a 5,693% return on the original £18.99 cover price. Unsigned copies change hands for around £500, still a decent return.

Investors should shop for first editions, and if possible take the book to an author’s signing.

First editions are often short print runs, so fewer books are sold, while adding the writer’s signature increases the rarity and the value for collectors.

Try to add proof of signing as provenance – a selfie with the author with a time and date stamp is ideal.

Statistically, the study disclosed unsigned editions have an average return of 826% and signed copies range up to 2,250%.

Finite commodity

Unsigned first editions of books nominated on the 2016 prize list are going for between £65 and £130.

Although the returns on first edition award-winning books can be stratospheric, one point to watch is how long the book needs to be held to generate the best profits.

Wolf Hall is a seven-year investment so far.

Sadly, the signed books will always increase in value once the author dies as their personal message becomes a finite commodity.

The Booker prize is not the only British literary award – several other contests are open for general, fiction, poetry and non-fiction titles, while many more niche awards are on offer for topics such as science fiction, first novels and crime books.

Below is a list of some related articles, guides and insights that you may find of interest.

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