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What is our First Editions Club?
As a member of our Odyssey Bookshop’s First Editions Club, you will receive a signed first edition every month. Each book will be a first printing of a newly published fiction title, selected by our staff of booksellers for both its literary merit and its potential collectibility. We do consider short story collections, but anticipate that most selections will be novels.
Why choose the Odyssey's Club?
The Odyssey Bookshop, founded in 1963, is the largest independent bookstore in the Pioneer Valley of Massachusetts, an area known for its arts and cultural innovations. The Odyssey hosts over 100 authors a year and our staff of professional booksellers are experts in the world of books and publishing. We see and read advance copies of books as early as six months prior to publication, and discuss upcoming books with representatives of the publishing industry. Most first editions are signed in our store, but when an author cannot come to the store, we will make arrangements to bring the books to the author.
What's the big deal about signed first editions?
Book Collecting. People have been collecting books for as long as books have been read. Readers sometimes become interested in a particular author or subject, but many people will collect a wide variety of books. To most collectors, the first printing of the first edition is the most desired edition. Having a first edition that is also signed by the author can be that much more rewarding, for both personal satisfaction and real market value.
For example, Empire Falls (the first Odyssey First Editions Club Selection) sold for $25.95 when Richard Russo visited the Odyssey. Then it won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction and now, a signed first edition of the book could bring as much as $300. Our January, 2006 selection was Kiran Desai's The Inheritance of Loss which was subsequently awarded the 2006 Man Booker Prize, one of the most prestigious awards in the world of fiction. Listings for that signed first editions of that book immediately jumped to between $400 and $750. In 2011, several of our picks had significant increases in value. The Tiger's Wife, by Tea Obrecht, is priced at $70 and up. Open City, by Teju Cole, starts at $100. And Chad Harbach's debut, The Art of Fielding, starts at $250. Not a bad year to be in the club.
Of course, not all books will have this appreciation in value, but a collection of signed firsts will greatly enhance any library.
What does it cost to join?
Absolutely nothing. All you pay is the publisher's list price on the book and a shipping charge and we'll send the book right to your home each month. Of course, if you live locally, you may pick up your selection each month instead. You may cancel your membership at any time.
I live in another country -- can I join the First Editions Club?
Yes, in fact we currently have members who live in Australia, the UK, and Canada. We may have to adjust the rates for shipping books to you, depending on where you live. We would be happy to provide you with an estimate for shipping. Send us an email and we'll get back to you as soon as possible.
Can I give a subscription as a gift?
Many of our members have given an Odyssey Signed First Editions membership as a gift to a loved one, even to someone they just really like. Whether you give to it a spouse who treasures books, to a new college graduate who may want to begin to build a serious library, or to that special bibliophile friend, it's a unique gift that will be appreciated every month. Many long-time members began with year-long gift memberships and decided to continue on their own.
How does the Odyssey make its selections?
The Odyssey has become the premier bookstore in Western Massachusetts for author appearances and signings. Odyssey staff read advance copies of books months before their publication, and are keyed in to those books which are likely to make an impact in the publishing world. We also know the books from small publishing houses, and those which will have ‘short press runs.’ This is important, since a book with a first edition printing of 5,000 copies will, all other things equal, likely have greater value down the road that one with 200,000 copies.
Why should I join the First Editions Club?
There's no easier way to build a serious library of modern first editions. We aim our books not just at collectors but at anybody who makes reading a priority in their life. What's more, our club members will be among the first readers to discover upcoming writers and unearth literary gems. In addition, while the Odyssey does not advocate buying first editions solely for investment purposes, signed firsts often increase dramatically in value, especially those of authors who gain widespread recognition. Finally, a subscription to the first edition club will make a great gift for the special bibliophile in your life.
What if I don't like a selection?
You are always welcome to return any selection within two weeks of receiving it. We simply request that if you plan to return a book, it should be in its original condition, and you should notify us before you return it, by emailing the club director at firstname.lastname@example.org. We will refund the purchase price or give you store credit toward your next selection.
What have been some recent selections?
Click here to see all of our selections.
Do you ever offer signed firsts of books other than your monthly selections?
Yes. Each month, we send members an email describing not only our monthly Club pick, but a variety of other firsts as well. Some of these 'special offers' are for authors who are visiting the store, but sometimes the authors sign books at publisher offices in New York or Boston. Check out the special offers for February 2020 in the monthly newsletter.
How do I find out about other authors at the Odyssey?
It's easy. Sign up for our email list (sidebar) and you'll receive information every month about our calendar of author readings and other special events. When you sign up you will also be able to indicate your special interests, and receive notices about those events in those areas.
How do I sign up for the First Editions Club?
Fill out the online registration form here. Or, call us at 413.534.7307. We can take your registration over the phone, or send you a brochure.
If you inspire someone else to join the First Editions Club, you will receive 20% off one month's selection. Just have your friend name you as their referral source and we will take care of the rest!