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Mark Nickolas

Mark Nickolas

Posted: April 10, 2009 05:54 PM

Have you ever wondered what the marketplace is asking for a signed, hardcover copy of books by our leading political figures? Well, last night I browsed the collectible versions of a number of such books over at Amazon.com and the results are interesting and occasionally unexpected.

Turns out that no one can come close to President Obama. The average listing for a signed copy of The Audacity of Hope is a staggering $2,000, more than double Ronald Reagan's My Life, which itself remains all alone in second place, and by a considerable margin.

Here are the going rate of signed books by some of the more prominent political figures: 

  • President Obama (avg. $2,000): A signed hardcover copy of The Audacity of Hope remains in a class by itself. Presently on Amazon, there are six signed books for sale ranging in price from $1,500 to $2,441, with most listed just a few dollars under $2,000. No one else comes close. Interestingly, a signed copy of Dreams of my Father can be had for as little as $800;
               
  • Ronald Reagan (avg. $900): The only signed political book in the same universe as Obama right now is An American Life by former President Ronald Reagan. There are four signed copies available listed for $789, $825, $895, and $1,075. Reagan is in second-place all by himself;
             
  • Bill Clinton, Jimmy Carter, Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden, John McCain (avg. $300-$500): If you have a few hundred to spend, you can land a signed copy of My Life by Bill Clinton, Living History by Hillary Clinton, Promises to Keep by Joe Biden, or Keeping Faith by Jimmy Carter, or Faith of my Fathers by John McCain;
            
  • Al Gore, George H.W. Bush (avg. $150-$250): For those with a little tighter budget, you can acquire a signed copy of Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth, or George H.W. Bush's, All The Best George Bush. Also a signed copy of Jimmy Carter's most recent We Can Have Peace In The Holy Land can be had for as low as $100;
             
  • Colin Powell, Bill Richardson (avg. $75-100): If you need to stay under $100, you could acquire a signed copy of Bill Richardson's Between Worlds: The Making of an American Life or Colin Powell's My American Journey;
              
  • Bill O'Reilly, Newt Gingrich, John Edwards (avg. $25): In the bargain basement category, signed copies of Bill O'Reilly's The O'Reilly Factor, Newt Gingrich's Lessons Learned The Hard Way, or John Edwards' Four Trials for just $25. Sadly, that's also the list price for all three books, so the autograph is essentially for free.

Since Sarah Palin has not penned a book, we have no measuring stick. But given the right-wing excitement for her, I would suspect she'd be in the McCain category.

As for surprises, I was startled by the disparity between President Obama and President Reagan. Given the conservative love for Reagan, and the fact that he is no longer alive and signed books are much harder to come by, I suspected a lot more parity between the two men. It's not even close.

However, it was delightful to discover that signed copies of Bill O'Reilly's and Newt Gingrich's most prominent books sell for less than the books' list price. Love it.

Mark Nickolas is the Managing Editor of Political Base, and this story was from his original post, "Signed Obama Books Going For $2,000, Reagan $900, Clintons $400, O'Reilly Just $25... "

 

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