Jonathan Franzen’s fourth book is Freedom.   It was released on Aug. 31st and now is first on the NY Times bestseller list.

His last book which came out in 2001 won the National Book Award in 2002.  But even better, Oprah chose it for her book club which guaranteed many more sales … except that Mr. Franzen didn’t want his book to be in the Oprah Book Club – he didn’t want the logo on his book.  She cancelled his appearance on her show.  He eventually apologized to Oprah and they both moved on.

Nine years later Oprah reads Freedom and wants it in her book club.  She called it a “masterpiece”.  Our current rating for the book is 59. (what this number represents is an estimate of the value averaging a signed and unsigned copy).

I haven’t bought the book.  I am reluctant due to the large first printing reported to be between 300,000 and 400,000 books.  A fine/fine first printing may be worth $50 and this assumes the book wins an award.

A fine/fine first of The Corrections is currently worth $45-50 and there were only about 90,000 in the first printing.

I would definitely try to obtain an inexpensive new or used copy in fine/fine condition – essentially no flaws.  And then try to get it signed at some point if you can.

Mr. Franzen is on an extensive signing tour.  He’s 51 and so should have no trouble signing a lot of his books.

He has been to Powell’s and Book People (Sept 17th) and has 10 more stores to go to.  There will be many signed copies for sale shortly though many may be second editions.  He’s also signing previous books, like The Corrections, so there will likely be more of them on-line.

Just be careful and don’t pay too much. (Make sure it doesn’t have the Oprah logo and that it’s a first edition)

Here’s the list of book stores he’ll be signing at.  If you’re in the area you might want to go see him.

September 15, 2010 – Powell’s Books; Portland, OR
September 16, 2010 – Library Foundation of Loas Angeles; Los Angeles, CA
September 17, 2010 – Book People; Austin, TX
September 20, 2010 – Left Bank Books; St. Louis, MO
September 21, 2010 – The Fitzgerald Theatre; St. Paul, MN
September 22, 2010 – Unity Temple on the Plaza; Kansas City, MO
September 23, 2010 – Free Library of Philadelphia; Philadelphia, PA
September 24, 2010 – Politics & Prose Bookstore; Washington, DC
September 25, 2010 – National Book Festival; Washington, DC
November 7, 2010 – Cleveland Public Library; Cleveland, OH
November 15, 2010 – The 92nd St Y; New York, NY
November 21, 2010 – Miami Book Fair; Miami, FL
December 2, 2010 – McNally Jackson Booksellers; New York, NY

I think he has an excellent chance of being nominated for this year’s National Book Award.  We’ll find out in early October.

8 Comments on Freedom by Jonathan Franzen

  1. JMP says:

    Hello – As also mentioned above, I have the UK first edition with errors, it is the limited edition 1 of 2,000 signed copies. I would have no idea how to value something like this…it is my first autographed book. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

    • Bob Morse says:

      Your best bet is to look on-line for a similar book but there are likely only a few. It could be worth a great deal as the US first had a first printing of 330,000.

  2. Pavel Sergeyev says:

    Thank you very much ))

  3. pavel sergeyev says:

    What about the 4th estate British edition? The one where 72,000 out of 80,000 first printings got pulped? Portion of the first printing was limited to 2,000 as indicated on the additional signed page?

    How valuable are those firsts?

    • Bob says:

      Can you tell us more about this book? Do you have a copy?

      • Pavel Sergeyev says:

        I have both UK limited and the US versions. Appears in this case UK edition is more valuable.

        • Bob says:

          I rated I Am Number Four (the US book) and got a 22. This is due partly due to the 150,000 first printing. The UK as you say would be more valuable. It is the true first and there are likely many fewer copies.

    • Bob says:

      I found this on ABE:

      “This is the first edition, containing the errors that so displeased the author and that have meant this version was recalled by the publisher for pulping.”

      Based on our ratings, I’d estimate it is at least a $100 book. And there are some books from the UK at $45-65 listed.

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