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Signed vs. Inscribed

Inscribed vs. Signed

During any signing we often hear the question about whether it is better to have a book inscribed to the owner or simply signed by the author. While both methods are perfectly valid, both have pros and cons.

An inscribed book is when an author scribbles out a personalize note in the book to the book’s owner; usually with the owner’s name on it.

A signed book is when an author simply signs his name in a book and perhaps dates it as well.

Now that you know the difference, here is the conundrum. If you are a huge fan of an author and would have a squee moment if you were own a book inscribed directly to you. Then by all means have it inscribed, doodled on and/or stamped by an author. However if in the back of your mind you think some day you might possibly be tempted to part with your book, I would hesitate to have it inscribed. Many collectors see an inscribed copy as being slightly less valuable or less preferred version. Since chances are the collector and the seller probably do not share the same name, nor care that the author signed it to “their no. 1 fan”. If they are choosing between two books, one being inscribed and one is signed--chances are they will purchase the signed copy. Thus an inscribed copy often is slightly less marketable.

The only exception to this general rule is an Association Copy. Where the book is inscribed to someone who is important in the author’s life, or is inscribed to someone famous/notorious.