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Harry Potter Perplexities

October 30th, 2007  |  by  |  published in Book Collecting

No, this isn't a post about Hogwart's headmaster Albus Dumbledore being gay, it's an update on our story about variant copies of the last Harry Potter novel, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. As reported by our very own Kimberly Howell, multiple printers were used for the novel, and each one is identified in the colophon of the book. These are true variants, which would be recognized by any bibliographer. As far as we know, prior to our article on them in the November/December 2007 issue of Fine Books & Collections, no one had noted them before. We identified four variants and asked readers if there were others. We just got our first new example. [Update 10/31/07: We have a 6th printer. Based on information we gathered for the story, we believed there were six variants. If that's correct, we have them all now. Thanks to everyone who checked their copies.]

Here is the current list of variant readings of the colophon:

Variant A: RR Donnelley in Crawfordsville, Indiana
Variant B: RR Donnelley in Harrisonburg, Virginia
Variant C: Quebecor World Martinsburg in Martinsburg, West Virginia
Variant D: Quebecor World Fairfield in Fairfield, Pennsylvania
Variant E: Quebecor World Taunton in Taunton, Massachusetts
Variant F: Quebecor World Versailles in Versailles, Kentucky [added 10/31/07]

If you have a copy of the first printing of the first American edition that isn't on our list, please let us know and we'll add it. A scan of the colophon page would be appreciated, too.

I suspect that there are variants in the colophons of the first editions of other Harry Potter novels, which wait to be identified. One printer told me that 10 manufacturers worked on a previous Harry Potter, though he wasn't at liberty to say which book!

If you are interested in HP, our November/December issue (on newsstands now) also has a story about the collectors who bought the Harry Potters inscribed to J. K. Rowlings' father for close to $100,000.

Given the record prices paid recently for first editions of the first book, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, those association copies are looking like better and better deals all the time. In case you missed it, on October 25, Christie's South Kensington (London) branch sold a first edition of The Philosopher's Stone (published in a hardcover edition reported to be around 300 to 500 copies) for £19,700 ($40,000). The next day, Heritage Auction Galleries in Dallas sold an ex-library copy of the same book for $33,460.

Bookstore Barbers II

October 26th, 2007  |  by  |  published in Bookselling

Brian Cassidy, who after a number of years selling online bought the Cannery Row Old Book Co. (located inside the Cannery Row Antique Mall) and renamed the shop Brian Cassidy, Bookseller, points out that Ruben Martinez, founder of Libreria Martinez in SoCal, used to be a barber and keeps his old chair in the store as a reminder. A couple of years ago, he won a MacArthur Genius grant.

Bookstore Barbers

October 24th, 2007  |  by  |  published in Book Collecting

Last year we ran a photo of a stamp in a book identifying it as having come from Roy Bean's Used Book Center and Barbershop, which is one of the all-time great bookstore names, if you ask me.

Now our friends over at the Exile Bibliophile have located a second bookstore-barbershop combo, this one from early 19th century Boston. For the full scoop, visit Exile's book ephemera blog.

Does anyone else know of bookstore barbershops? If so, let me know and I'll post updates.

My Famous Pets

October 23rd, 2007  |  by  |  published in Uncategorized

Completely Off Topic: A few months ago, Organic Gardening magazine sent a photographer  to take photos of my wife (the gardener in the family) and our four hens. The November issue of the magazine just arrived and our girls were very happy to see themselves in print. Here they are admiring their picture.