Movie makes "Fight Club" book a contender

First editions of Chuck Palahniuk's novel have become a hot commodity.

Published September 3, 1999 4:00PM (EDT)

If you're skittish about tech stocks, invest your money in first-edition hardcovers of "Fight Club." Fox 2000's film version of Chuck Palahniuk's gritty novel will appear next month and will star Brad Pitt and Ed Norton. Specialty bookstores are already offering first editions of the book for up to $75 each.

"Prices for the book depend on the movie, and in this case everyone says good things about the movie," says Craig Graham, whose Los Angeles store, Vagabond Books, is selling a first edition of "Fight Club" for $70. "If it's a good movie, things can be kind of explosive." Another store, Positively Books in Portland, Ore., is selling a first edition, signed by the author, for $105.

Scarcity, as well as hype, has boosted the value of copies of "Fight Club." The paperback, published by Henry Holt and Company in 1997, is hard to find, and delivery of the second edition has been postponed until October. (Supposedly, Holt and Fox 2000 still haven't settled on the cover, which may or may not feature Pitt and Norton, although a Holt spokeswoman refused to comment on the matter.)

Meanwhile, W.W. Norton & Company, who published the hardcover of "Fight Club," is reaping the rewards. The book sold only around 5,000 copies when it was first published in 1996, but recently it's become a real contender. "There has been a quantum leap in demand for this book," Norton's director of publicity, Louise Brockett, told Salon Books. "We sold 149 copies of it yesterday. Yesterday. One day. That's an indication of what's been going for the past two months."

By Craig Offman

Craig Offman is the New York correspondent for Salon Books.

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