- The Catcher in the Rye
- J.D. Salinger
- Little, Brown and Company, U.S.A. 1991
I want to juxtapose a collectible book and a reading copy, and since I have posted a couple of very collectible Catcher editions, I want to talk about my often re-read, 44th (note the 44 on the number line) printing of the 1991 Little, Brown and Company mass market paperback edition of The Catcher in the Rye. This is the edition that everyone who enjoys literary fiction has probably seen in every used book store in North America.
You see, if you are like me, you won’t risk damaging your collectible books by reading them. If you are like me, you read library books. And for the books you love, you buy yourself reading copies. Of course, used book stores are the best places to pick up reading copies. Support your local used book stores!
You want your reading copies to be structurally sound, with NO writing on the text pages. You want them to stand up to several readings without falling apart, but that is really about all you ask of them.
My cats have chewed the corners, just a little, and I don’t really mind. The text is still legible and the book is strong. The page edges are toning, but they still have decades of life left in them. This edition is currently available brand new for less than $10 and used for quite a bit less.
Of course, I don’t assume all collectors are like me. There are some (arguably more sane) collectors out there who collect books, to read. Some people collect and read cheap paperback editions like this one, some collect and read first edition hardcovers. And there is nothing at all wrong with that. Now, I doubt many people are spending the bigger bucks on signed or otherwise special editions to read, but if you do — well, good for you.