Monday, April 27, 2009
Haruki Murakami, After Dark
Today I'd like to show you my leather-bound edition of Haruki Murakami's recently-translated novel After Dark. Published a few years ago in the UK by Harvill Secker, After Dark (and many of Murakami's recent books) was simultaneously offered as a limited edition. There were two options for this limited edition: you could purchase an unsigned clothbound and slipcased edition that was numbered out of 700 copies (possibly exclusively offered through somewhere like Waterstone's, I don't remember exactly) or you could spend a bit more and get a the signed, leatherbound edition that's limited to 100 copies worldwide. This copy is #41. The book's leather boards are illustrated with a silver embossed television; the slipcase features the TV cord. The book is signed via bookplate on the title page.
Now, Murakami is an easy target for modern book collectors. His earlier books are difficult to find as hardcover 1st editions and their prices on the rare markets have risen quite a bit. I believe Chip Kidd designed all the US 1sts, and as you can imagine some of them are incredible to see in person. The 1st edition of The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, for instance, features a Chris Ware-illustrated semi-transparant schema over the bird on the book's jacket of it's inner "mechanics". It's something that can't really be photographed, and I believe a lot of people don't even know it's there.
These days, Murakami's widely known as a literary great that has an ever-expanding readership. In the US, at least, all his books post-Wind-Up Bird are printed with a substantially larger print-run. One would think his days as a collector's author were over--not so! Starting with Kafka on the Shore, Murakami's UK publisher began printing signed limited editions of his books. These are snatched up quickly at publication and they rarely show up through online retailers. While it's frustrating if you're trying to track one down, I imagine the rarity of a second-hand copy means most of the limited editions are secured proudly in private collections.
WHERE TO FIND THESE SIGNED/LIMITED EDITIONS: Honestly, ask the publisher. Write them and say you want to be on the waiting list for a copy and you'll probably get one.