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Man Booker Prize winning books could be a novel investment worth making

18 October 2016

With the Man Booker Prize Winner announcement imminent, research from Gocompare.com Money has found that first edition versions of prize winning books could be a novel investment worth making.

  • Collectors could see as much as a £2,435 (826%) return on investment*
  • Investing in Man Booker Prize winners can offer better returns than companies like Microsoft and Yahoo! Unsigned first editions of Man Booker Prize winning books more than triple the return of Microsoft shares**
  • Average return on investment for Booker Prize winners is £152.19***
  • Research comes ahead of the upcoming Man Booker Prize Winner announcement on 25th October 2016

With the Man Booker Prize Winner announcement imminent, research from Gocompare.com Money has found that first edition versions of prize winning books could be a novel investment worth making.

The comparison site analysed the value of first edition prize winning novels over the past 15 years and found that on average, collectors could see returns of up to £152.19 (826%)***.

Every single book to have won the coveted prize has seen a sizable increase in value. Last year’s winner A Brief History of Seven Killings by Marlon James has seen the biggest rise in worth with a huge 7,009% (£400) increase on its original RRP.

However, the most valuable Booker Prize winner of the last 15 years is Hilary Mantel’s 2009 novel Wolf Hall, which was made into a BBC television series last year. A signed first edition of the prize winning book is worth £1,100, a whopping 5,693% increase on its £18.99 RRP, with an unsigned copy fetching as much as £600.

Man Booker Prize Winners 2000-2015




RRP (£)

First Edition Unsigned****

First Edition Signed ****

Increase Unsigned


Margaret Atwood

The Blind Assassin






Peter Carey

True History of the Kelly Gang






Yann Martel

Life of Pi






DBC Pierre

Vernon God Little






Alan Hollinghurst

The Line of Beauty






John Banville

The Sea






Kiran Desai

The Inheritance of Loss






Anne Enright

The Gathering






Aravind Adiga

The White Tiger






Hilary Mantel

Wolf Hall






Howard Jacobson

The Finkler Question






Julian Barnes

The Sense of an Ending






Hilary Mantel

Bring Up the Bodies






Eleanor Catton

The Luminaries






Richard Flanagan

The Narrow Road to the Deep North






Marlon James

A Brief History of Seven Killings


















The research also revealed that unsigned editions see a return on investment of 826%. While collectors who went the extra mile to get signed copies could see a rise of 2,250%. On average a signature increased the value of the winning novels by 154%, making it worth the trip to the next book signing event.

Unsigned first editions of the 2016 Man Booker Prize shortlist are currently priced between £65-130, so making the effort to get the copy signed could add to the novel’s value later down the line.

The yield from prize winning books is even more impressive when they’re compared to other forms of investment.

For instance, while investors in Microsoft would more than double their investment since 2000, unsigned first editions eclipse Microsoft shares by more than tripling these returns. Left on the shelf is Yahoo! and Intel, with investors seeing losses of –25% and -33%.

Return on investment comparison













Return on investment (approx)








% increase











Matt Sanders, head of money at Gocompare.com, commented: “Interest rates on savings have been pretty abysmal for some time now and it’s understandable that people may think of turning to alternative investments to make their money work harder.

“The internet has enabled investors and book collectors to find books relatively easily with online booksellers and auction sites. However, those thinking of branching out into novel investments should err on the side of caution.

“Alternative assets like books, art and classic cars can be volatile with big variations in price dependent on condition and rarity.

“Investing your money in any type of investment can seem intimidating. But book collecting can be a labour of love. People tend to collect rare books or first editions for enjoyment and nostalgia rather than for financial benefit. It’s always best to buy books that appeal to you and not try and second guess the market. However, with a little effort and luck collectors might get a pleasant financial surprise.”

Five tips for investing

1. Do your research

If you are looking to invest, remember that neither your returns nor your original investment are guaranteed. Commodities and alternative investments can be very risky so it is wise to speak to an independent financial adviser for tailored advice. It’s also worth reaching out to dealers and auctioneers of the antiquarian book trade who can offer advice on rarity and compare prices.

2. Buy first editions

Collectors should aim for first edition copies, publishers tend to commission small print runs for a book’s first printing, so they are typically rarer.

3. Go the extra mile

As we can see from the research, inscribed copies command the highest values. So going the extra mile to attend literary events or book signings might pay off.

4. Condition is key

Condition is arguably one of the most important factors in collecting books, so buy the best condition within your budget. Keep an eye out for copies with original dust jackets, it was once the throw-away packaging of a book but now one of the biggest influences over a book’s value.

5. Protect your investment

It’s important to maintain a book’s condition so make sure you have a safe place to store them. Keep them out of direct sunlight and away from radiators. It might also be worth reassessing your home insurance. Smaller collections may be covered by your standard home insurance but if you’re serious about collecting it might be worth taking another look.

- ENDS -

Notes to editors:

*Total cost of books at RRP against total value of unsigned hardback first editions. Highest listed price on auction website Abebooks.co.uk. Prices correct as of Sept 2016.

**Assuming approx £262.85 (total cost of books at RRP) worth of shares were bought in Sept 2000 and sold in Sept 2016

***Average value of unsigned first edition Man Booker Prize winning book. Percentage increase calculated against average RRP

****Highest listed price. Prices correct as of Sept 2016 (Abebooks.co.uk)

*****Total cost of books at RRP against total value of unsigned first editions