Mapping the Terrain of Used and Rare Books
Centipede Press is one – if not the – currently most collectible and sought after imprints in recent horror publishing.
The imprint reprints (and sometimes, but rarely, offers never before published material) not only in a truly eclectic range of books in the genres of horror, sci-fi, fantasy, and crime fiction, but the volumes are downright gorgeous! The highest quality paper, hand-sewn bindings, satin place-keepers, beautiful cover and interior art from some of the best in the industry, new introductions by either the author or some other notable expert in the field, limited signed numbered slipcased copies, and everything in-between. Not only are the books good, as far as the quality of writing is concerned, but also irresistibly attractive – And scarce. Very scarce. Most volumes are printed in limited numbers ranging from 100-500 copies. Once sold-out from the CP website (www.centipedepress.com) copies in Fine condition, depending on the title, can range anywhere from 100-1,500$. Possibly more.
And the sheer range of the titles offered! Classics such as “Frankenstien,” and “Dr Jekyll & Mr Hyde,” to a deluxe oversized art book inspired by the works of H.P. Lovecraft; book length essays on vampires throughout myth, film, and literature; reprints of cult favorites such as the books of Gene Wolf’s fantasy/ horror “The Book of the New Sun” Cycle; a truly handsome 1st American hardcover edition of Bret Easton Ellis’ “American Psycho”; Joe Haldeman’s “The Forever War” (a quite popular and expensive title); Frtitz Leiber’s two horror masterpieces “Conjure Wife” and “Our Lady of Darkness” – especially sought after titles, maybe even more so than the original First Editions: But novelty may play a large part in that, not to mention CP’s small print run of 150 copies per title – I’m curious to follow that trend.
Frank Herbert, Charles L. Grant, Stephen King, Charles Beaumont, Michael Cisco, the reclusive Thomas Ligotti, Peter Straub, S.T. Joshi, an ongoing series “Masters of the Weird Tale” which, much in the vein of Arkham House, attempts to preserve and showcase the early pulp-writers and the even earlier writers who influenced them (Algernon Blackwood, Edgar Allan Poe, H.P. Lovecraft, Ambrose Bierce, Frank Belknap Long), and on and on….
Also, as mentioned before, quite costly. To get locked into a serious Centipede Press collection can wreak havoc on ones checking-account. Take it from one who knows. It’s a heinous and sometimes irresistible temptation to drop 200$ on a book that you may never see offered again, and if so, at no less than 600$. Right now the books are being traded around the internet like baseball-cards. Two examples I’ve been watching are the two Leiber books mentioned earlier and the “American Psycho.” (Three of my favorite books by two of my favorite authors.)
More on this to come.