- Dave Eggers
- McSweeney’s, U.S.A. 2003
Sacrament is basically Eggers’ previous novel You Shall Know Our Velocity with an extra section put in about two-thirds of the way through. The added 49 pages throw into question the reliability of the protagonist/narrator of You Shall Know Our Velocity. Eggers completely changes the context of the story. A neat literary experiment.
There was quite a stir in the collecting world when this book came out. There were those who felt ripped off – they felt like Egger’s was pulling a clever marketing trick on them, that they are basically being asked to buy the same book twice.
Personally, I found it clever.
And it’s not like Egger’s books aren’t collectible. For one thing, McSweeney’s makes really beautiful editions — they are at the cutting edge when it comes to book design.
For another, there was only one printing of this edition of Sacrament. The copyright page, printed on the rear inside paste-down, calls it Hand’s Revised Edition. There is no mention of edition or print numbers. When it came out later in paperback, there were some new revisions, and Hand’s section was gone.
This copy is signed prominently on the front cover. Only 2,000 of these were signed.
The physical book differs slightly from You Shall Know Our Velocity. It has the same raw cardboard front cover and no dust jacket, but the back board and spine are cloth-bound in red. The reviews on the back panel are printed on a sticker, which at the bottom says, ‘this sticker is removable’.
Similar to You Shall Know Our Velocity the story starts on the front board.
This copy is in fine condition. These signed true first editions are not easy to find. If you are looking for one, be careful to check whether the rear review sticker is intact, because it does make a difference to the value. I see two signed copies listed on AbeBooks right now – only one in fine condition – and only one of the sellers state whether the sticker is present. If it had been peeled off you might not know it had ever been there in the first place.
McSweeney’s occasionally offers special editions (sometimes signed) that are only available through their website. I am not sure if that is true of this book, but in the case of You Shall Know Our Velocity, stated first editions were only available on-line. By the time it hit the store shelves there was no mention of edition.
For all the reasons listed above, and more, Egger’s true firsts have a lot of potential to keep climbing in value. This fairly rare book, for instance, is now, just seven years later, worth about eight to ten times its original cover price.