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Book Talk A Place To Discuss Books and Audiobooks

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Old 09-09-02, 08:23 AM   #1
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Books as gifts...inscribe?

If you give a book as a gift, do you inscribe the book with a note? Do you do this on a first edition hardcover, or just paperbacks? Anyway, if you are willing to write in the book, what types of things do you write to the gift receiver? (Please please please tell me you don't write on the title page.)

My girlfriend and I talked about this last night. She's a firm believer that all gift books should be inscribed to mark the occasion. But I, as a collector of first edition, pristine hardcovers, am unable to do that to a book.

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Old 09-09-02, 11:29 AM   #2
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I would never inscribe a book that I've purchased for a collector or even a book that I know is collectible. I would perhaps insert a nice note on a separate piece of nice paper.

Not many people share our book-collector mentality. Sometimes, I'll be in a used or rare bookshop and find a title that I've been seeking forever. I'll open it up and find a long inscription from some mother to her son, or from best friend to best friend, and I think two things: 1) Why the hell did the son or the best friend get rid of the book, which was obviously a thoughtful gift from someone close? and 2) The book is suddenly worthless to me as a collector.

That being said, one of my very favorite books in my collection is inscribed: a hardcover of the original STAR WARS novelization inscribed by my father, who took me to the movie on opening day in 1977. Largely because of that, when people ask me for gift ideas for my daughter, I always recommend that they buy a copy of their favorite book as a child and inscribe it to her, writing about why the book was/is important to them.
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Old 09-09-02, 12:08 PM   #3
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Depends on the book and situation I guess, for example, when I graduated high school my brother inscribed a message to me in Oh, the Places You'll Go! which I consider apropos. For one, there is little chance that this edition would ever be valuable from a collector's standpoint. I still look back to it for inspiration which most likely would not be possible with an index card.

If I had purchased a valuable book as a gift, ie early edition of Atlas Shrugged, I would definately not write in the book no matter how important the reason was and would attached a message on a piece of paper as suggested.

That be said, I do not consider an inscription as a reason not to buy a collectible book, although I do agree no inscribtion is better. Whether or not the book was an ex-lib would be more of a determinant on whether I purchase a collectible.

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Old 09-10-02, 08:27 PM   #4
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I like the practice of inscribing a gift book - it makes the gift more personal and thoughtful. I have books that were inscribed years ago, and opening them up and seeing the inscription brings back the nice memory of the gift.

I wouldn't write in a specifically "collectible" or antique book, but that's not the kind of book I normally give (or receive) as a gift. I would have no problem writing in a regular hardcover or paperback. I might write the note either on the flyleaf or on the title page -- I'm not sure why bishop2knight doesn't like that.

I like brief inscriptions: the date, a short note commemmorating the occasion, a signature.
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Old 09-11-02, 08:10 AM   #5
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I feel that the title page is the sanctuary for the author's signature or inscription. Even if the book owner doesn't plan to get the book signed, I feel that the title page is sacred.

But I'm weird.
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