Thrift Treasures (The Tom Clancy Score)


My bibliophile hobby continues. I don’t know how many books I have at this point. I stopped cataloguing books around 7 years ago. It became no fun if I was constantly inventorying my collection. So now I just buy buy buy, but ensure I keep within a limited budget. In the old days, I use to be a decent seller on Amazon in the days before prices plummeted and before Borders went belly up. This is how I funded my old buying habits. Now, for the price of a couple hardbacks a month, I go out into the wild and pick books up a flea markets, thrift shops, garage sales, along with other things I collect. So for me, the thrill these days amount more to the hunt for treasure.

Sometimes I collect certain author’s first editions.

Sometimes I go for genre (Sci-Fi and Fantasy for me).

A bunch of books I collect just to, you know … read them.

Most of the time, there is little of value to be had. From the picture above, I bought Dan Brown’s Inferno, first edition, that is probably worth the 99 cents I paid for it. When the movie comes out this summer, I think it’ll be worth 99 cents. So many were printed that it is a little pointless collecting Dan Brown first editions. For me, since I found a first edition The Da Vinchi Code, I now have all his books in first edition. I even picked up a swanky Angel & Demons illustrated edition for $2 on the same excursion (5-6 stores). It’s worth $5-6 on ebay, so as a Dan Brown Collector, this was a decent pickup.

I found a copy of a BCE of A Time to Kill by John Grisham, printed by Wynwood Press. When Grisham wanted to become a writer, he did hard work of getting it printed by a vanity press, putting the books in the trunk of his car, and driving town to town to sell them off. To find a first edition out in the wild is pretty tough. Some newbies pick up the reformatted version after the movie came out, which isn’t rare at all (aka the green book). The BCE edition of the original fetches $20-50 on ebay over the last 8-9 years. I’ve followed this as I now have 3 in my collection.

I found two copies of Galactic Empires volume 1 and 2. I already have this set, but to me this was a nostalgic buy. For $75 cents each, I bought a set worth around $20, but to me, this anthology edited by the late Brian Aldiss holds some weight as having one of my favorite short stories of all time in included, The Star Plunderer by Poul Anderson. 

I picked up few gaming guides for my video game collection. Believe if or not, these things are pretty collectible if in good condition. I bought mine for 99 cents each. Worth $5-10 but whatever, I want it for my gaming room. I would do a video tour of it, but I need to complete it out more. It is getting harder and harder to find the really good, vintage stuff, like old nintendo games still in the box.

I bought lots of hardcover first editions in the haul in the Sci-Fi and Fantasy genre. I might have duplicates, I have no idea. Maybe I’m meet another collector nearby who will want to trade in 10-20 years. There are a couple books made into movies recently, The Fault of our Stars by John Green, Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell, and Whiskey Tango Foxtrot by Kim Barker (Title change from first book). Why movie books? Well, if you want to be a writer, you better learn what the hell worked from those that broke out.

The grand prize of the haul, was the Tom Clancy book. No, not Against All Enemies by the ghostwriter in small print. (Tom Clancy has been dead for a few years, so this marketing ploy is a bit strange). I’m a Clancy collector, but grow frustrated at the insistence to keep printing off his name. In any case, no, my score was finding a first edition Patriot Games autographed. It was sitting in the cart by the shelves because there were just so many unorganized book madness at that particular store.


I have no idea if that is to Dane, or Jane, or if Bane himself went to a book signing 30 years ago. Based on the few available on ebay, it seems as though “Best Wishes” was a standard line for ol’ Tom. This is actually better than a flat sign because there is a larger sample of his signature for authentication purposes. Online, they all range from $89-150. A bunch are stalking a buy it now price of $99 for one seller, so I believe this is the value. Like all my autograph finds, I’ll be holding on to it in my lifetime, unless there is some better nostalgic trade. I have two holy grail books I want, in autograph condition. Not sure how long it will take, but I aim to get them someday.

How much were all the books, including the autographed Tom Clancy?

Around $27. How much if I went to Half Priced Books? Probably $175 (not including autographed book). How much if there was as book price collapse and I bought each for a penny on amazon? Probably $110 in shipping.

Garage sales and thrift shops remain the best port of calls for the book collector and aspiring writer.


Writing Tips: Top Story Rejections


Writing is about persistence and the right chance. Many unpublished writers still try and get an publisher the old way through literary agents. For those of you that keep getting rejected by an agent or publisher, keep your head up. Below are some of the more famous author rejections and how many books they sold.

The Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum – Sold over 15,000,000 copies

The Color Purple by Alice Walker – Sold over 10,000,000 copies

Harry Potter Series by J.K Rowling – Sold  over 600,000,000 copies

Dune by Frank Herbert – Sold over 12,000,000 copies

The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis – Sold over 100,000,000 copies

Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger – Sold over 65,000,000 copies

The Godfather by Mario Puzo – Sold over 30,000,000 copies

A Time to Kill by John Grisham – Sold over 1,500,000 copies

Animal Farm by George Orwell – Sold over 20,000,000 copies

The Da Vinchi Code by Dan Brown – Sold over 80,000,000 copies

The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand – Sold over 8,000,000 copies

The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger – Sold over 7,000,000 copies

Valley of the Dolls by Jacqueline Susann – Sold over 30,000,000 copies

Jaws by Peter Benchley – Sold over 20,000,000 copies

Lord of the Flies by William Golding – Sold over 15,000,000 copies

Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov – Sold over 50,000,000

The Diary of Ann Frank – Sold over over 30,000,000 copies

Catch 22 by Joseph Heller – Sold over 10,000,000 copies

Chicken Soup for the Soul by Jack Canfield and Mark Hansen – Sold over 125,000,000 copies

Ann of Green Gables by L.M Montgomery – Sold over 50,000,000 copies

The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter – Sold over 45,000,000 copies