Friday, July 18, 2008

The [sic] Signed Copy, or, Who's Screwing Who?*

[* Apologies to those born in the 19th century who prefer "Who's Screwing Whom?"]

Let’s say for a moment that, while pinging around the internet, you come across an ABE listing for a 1968 signed copy of J.G. Ballard’s Why I Want to Fuck Ronald Reagan. Let’s say the first thing you notice is the bookseller’s rating: one star out of five…. On second thought, let’s back up and say that you didn’t notice that. Let's just say you read the description, which includes:
Spine rubbed, discrete pen mark to upper panel. No. 51 of 50 [sic] signed copies, from a total edition of 250, with Ballard's signature to limitation page.

What would you make of that—No. 51 of 50 [sic] signed copies? Only the first 50 copies of the chapbook are reported as numbered and signed by Ballard. So was this a publisher’s error? Hmm. Makes you wonder.

But let’s jump ahead now to the price—US$ 2,058.66. That’s a lot of money. But then we are talking about an authentic, signed copy of Why I Want to Fuck Ronald Reagan by J. G. Ballard.

Aren’t we?