Though it is only theoretical, considering the usual effect of flooding the market, John Grisham now rues having distributed 1,000 copies of his first book.
GalleyCat ran this story by Maryann Yin, this morning:
he earned $18 million in 2011, he once held a fortune in first-edition books.
In a guest post on The Daily Beast, Grisham (pictured, via) recounts the events surrounding his first novel, A Time to Kill. His publisher printed 5,000 first edition copies of that book and Grisham bought 1,000 copies to use fir giveaways, $5 sales to friends and even as a doorstop.
Considering that a first edition of A Time to Kill is now worth $4,000, Grisham once owned $6 million of his own books.
Here’s more from the post: “My idea was, I’d buy a thousand books, have a big book party at the local library, and all my friends would come. I’d sell all these books and it’d be easy. I could buy the books at wholesale, sell them at retail, and make a few bucks … Then I took all the books down to the local library and we had a big book party. When the party was over, I still owned 882 copies of A Time to Kill. I had this invoice that was due to pay for them wholesale, so I started giving books away.”
Read the rest of the story on GalleyCat.
Personally, I am sure he remembers that it was great to sell even a few, at the time, because I had a slightly similar experience. Back in 1992, we were offered a joint residency on Long Island, by the William Steeple Davis Trust. It was a golden opportunity, but finance was going to be a problem.
By coincidence, one of my books had just been published. I did the same thing as Grisham, and bought 1,000 copies at wholesale price. Then, at talks, lectures, and presentations all about New England, I sold them at retail price. And, as John Grisham hoped to do, I made a few bucks. It kept the bills paid at a rather critical time.