When a series of books becomes very popular there is often an urge on the part of publishers to cash in on this and sell even more copies of the titles by producing several versions. The Harry Potter series famously had adult friendly versions of the cover as well as the standard one for example. Such special editions may only by available for a limited period. When new, discounted from a supermarket or Amazon could they possibly be an investment?
Well, I wouldn't recommend buying any book simply for investment; the market is so hard to predict and frequently baffles me despite ten years in the trade now. If the series is popular even a time limited edition will still sell in large numbers and may not be worth the paper they're printed on in five years. There is however a small window. This is after the special edition finished being available new and before its devotees get fed up, move on to the next thing, and flood the market with unwanted copies. During this window (which might be months, or might be a decade) there will likely be shortage of supply which probably would not make your fortune but might make you a tiny profit on the price when you bought it new.
An example: I'd love to claim credit for this, I am a bookdealer after all, but this was entirely accidental. Anyway, I bought myself the four Twilight books last year. When ordering I happened to order the special edition with the red pages for one of the four. It was the same price as as the standard copy which is why I did not notice. When they arrived I just thought Eclipse happened to have been published that way. I read the book (ok, three times, it is that kind of book) and then my husband started to read the series. He was half way through Eclipse when I noticed on a used bookselling site that red edged editions where not standard and were selling at a small premium. A quick glance at Amazon told me that they were no longer for sale new. I photographed my well thumbed copy, gave a downbeat and honest description and popped for sale online. By lunch time I had been paid five times what I had paid for it new. I had to email Mr J at work and tell him if he wanted to finish Eclipse that evening he'd better ask one of the kids he teaches if he could borrow a copy as I had sold his.
Now this happened about last October (2009). So what has happened to price of those red edged volumes in the meantime? Well on Amazon at least the price has risen slightly again on what I charged for my copy last year. Now I did price mine to sell and of course by definition if a book is being offered for sale at a particular price it hasn't actually sold at that price and may never do so. However given the speed at which I sold my battered-and-honestly-described-as-such copy (less than three hours) I suspect these prices are at least close to attainable.
All this is particularly interesting because another special edition of the Twilight books is coming out. It will be, wait for it, white! Not black. Anyway Twihards may well be beside themselves with anxiety for these new copies. Or maybe not. The key thing is that these copies are not being sold in the USA which leaves a very large market starved of copies. A window of opportunity for the free world wide delivery of the Book Depository. But what of the idle speculator? Will you make a few quid pre-ordering these, waiting till they're no longer sold and trying to sell them on? I really have no idea. The choice is yours!
Wading through online catalogues is murder when searching for Twilight items as there are so many versions. So here are the direct links for ...
Non-UK residents might like The Book Depository with free world wide delivery: