Why I Don’t Buy Signed Books

When I went to Books of Wonder in NYC for the Teen Authors Festival’s big day of author signings, I was surprised by how many books the store had that were already signed by a ton of different authors who had obviously done signings at the store in the past. Since I don’t usually shop in indie bookstores, I had never seen such a display of signed copies before. The bigger surprise? That display didn’t interest me at all.

We place a lot of value in signed copies of anything, really. Books, posters, t-shirts, napkins. When we’re a fan of something, goddammit, it should be signed! I was a fan of many of the authors who had signed books for that display, but I wasn’t even a little tempted to buy ones that I didn’t own yet. I don’t value a book more because it’s been signed. What I value is actually going to a signing, meeting the author, and getting my book signed in front of me while I embarrassingly attempt small-talk while simultaneously trying not to fangirl all over the place.


The only time I’ve purchased a signed book that wasn’t signed in front of me was The Fault in Our Stars, but that was just because I preorder books I know I’ll love from Amazon and all the preorders of that one just happened to be signed. I just don’t care about an author’s autograph unless I’m there to see it written.

I like events, where the excitement builds while waiting in line with your friends. I want memories from my signed books. I love cracking open one of my few signed books and looking at the author’s address to me, his or her signature, and remembering the day I got it signed and the friends I was with. It makes me happy to remember that I was in the presence of one of my favorite authors (I’m the type of person who only wants a book to be signed if I unequivocally love it), even if it was only for a few moments. Signed books are personal to me. Though this means I rarely get the chance to own a signed book (opportunities to meet my favorite authors are rarely in my area), I wouldn’t want it any other way.

Let’s chat! Do you buy signed copies or do you wait for the author to have a signing event in your area? Are your signed books more precious to you than your other books? Do you have any great author signing memories to share? 


2 thoughts on “Why I Don’t Buy Signed Books

  1. I agree but I don’t really get to many author events living in rural Australia, So I do have a few signed books, but only one has been signed infront of me and I know what you mean about the awkward small talk. lol

  2. I TOTALLY agree with you!!! I’ve never understood why people will want to just buy a signed copy of something or order it already signed. To me, what’s more valuable is what you said: actually going to the event, meeting the author, and getting him or her to sign my book. On the other hand, if I’m in, say, a used book store and I see a book that I want and it happens to be signed, I will snatch that sucker up! Mostly because it’s like a hidden treasure. But to go to a bookstore and buy a new book from a signed books display? No thanks!

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