Tuesday, 7 September 2010

And then there were six - The Booker Prize Shortlist 2010

The Booker prize shortlist was announced today and brought a few surprises. Chief amongst these was the failure of The Slap or The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet to advance. In the case of the latter, it is certainly not David Mitchell’s finest book. However, given the high sales of The Slap and the significant controversy it has stirred up, I think it is disappointing that the judges did not put it through. Both books had limited editions; in the case of The Slap this has long disappeared, so collectors will probably breathe a slight sigh of relief. February by Lisa Moore has also proved very elusive. Apparently initial sales were poor, and much of the first print run was returned to the publisher for pulping. Consequently, first printings of the UK paperback have been very difficult to track down.

Of the six shortlisted novels, five have featured as one of my Book of the Week selections. Of the four I have read, my favourite is C, followed by Parrott and Olivier.  The shortlist is relatively straightforward for the collector, with one exception.  First editions of all are available online - In a Strange Room seems the least common.   The exception is the signed limited edition of 250 copies of The Room which was available only through Goldsboro books, and now appears to be sold out. There are currently two copies available online at over £150 each, with one reasonably priced copy on eBay. I will confirm what this sells for when the auction ends in a couple of day’s time. (Update - copy sold for £66).

The Shortlist 2010:

Peter Carey, Parrot and Olivier in America (Faber and Faber) – hardcover in dustwrapper. Firsts easily available, but at somewhat of a premium.

Emma Donoghue, Room (Pan MacMillan - Picador) – hardcover in dustwrapper. There was also a 250 copy signed limited edition published in co-operation with Goldsboro Books.

Damon Galgut, In a Strange Room (Grove Atlantic - Atlantic Books) – hardcover in dustwrapper.

Howard Jacobson, The Finkler Question (Bloomsbury) – hardcover in dustwrapper.

Andrea Levy , The Long Song (Headline Publishing Group - Headline Review) – decorated boards.

Tom McCarthy, C (Random House - Jonathan Cape) – hardcover in acetate wrapper over decorated boards.


Anonymous said...

Do you know the print run of the respective first editions?
Last years' Wolf Hall was around 2000, I was wondering about this years' "shorties"

Anonymous said...

Do you know the print runs of the "shorties"

Trapnel said...

It is very difficult to get accurate information on this, and I simply don't know for sure. My impression was that print funs for C and The Long Song were relatively large and that both are readily availble. Parrott and Olivier is also fairly common, although at present a little more expensive. I suspect the print run on the Galgut was smaller (there was a simultaneous paperback edition). In the case of Room, there were 250 copies of the Goldsboro Books edition plus the trade first. As for the winner, I think the print run was relatively high, and I would guess somewhere bewteen 1000 and 5000. It had sold 8500 copies before it won, and at that stage I had seen 4th printings in circulation.