I am not a big magazine buyer. I mean off the rack. I subscribe to Smithsonian (the best general interest magazine around), Downbeat (jazz!) and Guitar Player (it's nice to read how, even if I still can't), but I seldom browse the racks at the local bookstore or newstand.
But that all changes with travel, eh? Stuck in an airport for a few hours will do that to any person. So there I was, in the neat, tidy, pleasantly small Lihu'e airport on Kawai with time on my hands and five dollars that somehow hadn't been spent yet. So I wander into one of the shops and what comes to eye? The Utne Reader, a periodical my late, great best friend used to read all the time. I picked it up, gave it a quick thumb-through, and set free my fiver.
There was much of interest to be found in the May/June issue of Utne, but one small article really caught my eye. Originally published in Good magazine and written by Anne Trubek, it tells of an investment strategy I had never heard of: purchasing books by contemporary authors with the express intent of holding them as investments. Ms. Trubek points out that a UK first edition of What's Her Name Rowling's first book Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone has recently sold for $37,000. Not bad for what was probably about a twenty dollar initial investment, eh?
According to Ms. Trubrek, other authors current investors are banking on include Raymond Carver, Tim O'Brien and D. B. C. Pierre. Cormac McCarthy gets special mention as being "perfect for investors" for the following reasons: "He is male, writes in difficult prose, attends few book signings (making signed copies scarcer), and once published in small print runs.".
Well folks, I've got an even better insider scoop for you. See that book right up there? Well it was written by a male whose prose makes at least some folks scratch their heads. And I would be willing to bet that the number of his signed books in circulation beats Mr. McCarthy's for rarity hands down. And don't even talk to me about small print runs, hell, Gov Work is cranked out one copy at a time.
Sounds like a great retirement strategy to me.
Unless, that is, so many of you purchase Close Enough for Government Work that it can no longer be considered rare.
Well, I guess there is no such thing as a truly sure fire investment.
But I still think this one has merit.
Go Ye Forth and Do Likewise.