Sunday, 6 November 2011

Murakami 1Q84 limited edition - the final details

The limited edition of 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami has now been sent out and has made its way to the lucky owners (or sellers).  It was greatly oversubscribed, and while not the rarest of Murakami's limited editions, it may turn out the be the most desirable.

The final edition size was exactly 111 copies. The book was shipped in a cardboard box with the edition number on the top, sealed with a gold coloured adhesive sticker. The three volumes of the book are contained in a perspex case, with 1Q84 in a black handwritten font on both front and back. The perspex case is wrapped in net. In the case of the books themselves, both front and back covers are printed on Somerset, a 10 per cent cotton archival paper, using a Swiss-made 1963 Gietz Art Platen hand-fed letterpress. The limited edition is a collaboration between Simon Rhodes, Kristen Harrison at The Curved House and designer Stefanie Posavec. Text design by Jim Smith. Covers printed by Justin Knopp at Typoretum in Great Britain. Textpages printed and bound by Graphicom, Verona. Published by Harvill Secker in 2011. Random House Group Limited Reg. No. 954009. A CIP catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library. ISBN 9781846554902.

What was the inspiration behind the design? The designers saw parallels in Murakami's idea of interweaving narratives and obscured realities and the work of Bridget Riley and her contemporaries - complexity and confusion from perfectly constructed simplicity. The cover designs for the three books consist of overlapping circles, symbolizing the two moons which inhabit the sky in 1Q84, and the overlapping of the two stories and separate realities in the novel. The colours used for the three covers echo the change of seasons, and the exposed stitching and the section markers on the spines represent the stairs that Aomame, the book's protagonist, descends when she enters the parallel reality.

The books are accompanied by a numbered certificate of authenticity carrying the Harvill Secker limited edition seal. The author has signed every set by hand and each time with a slight variation on where the signature is situated or what pen has been used. This, along with the hand production techniques, means that every copy is subtely different.

Most of those lucky enough to have obained a copy from source will have received it by now. The cheapest secondary market copy at present is at £2950.......

**As of 11th December several secondary market copies are available at £2400 and above, and one has just sold on ebay for 3000 USD (no.38/111, just under £2000).


Simon said...

Mine's due tomorrow...I've never been so excited about getting a book...and you're right - massively over-subscribed!

Trapnel said...

I know where two of them are now! It is a very unusual production, and understanding the rationale of the designer certainly increases my appreciation.

the Word Merchant said...

How does one learn about and then sign up in time for such an offering?

Trapnel said...

My suggestion is to get to know a reliable specialist dealer in modern first editions - take time to build up a relationship and buy books from them regularly. Have alook through their online cataloges and lists to get an idea of the type of books they specialise in. Let them know your interests - they will often have early information from publishers about forthcoming special editions. I also subscribe to a large number of mailing lists. The recent Murakami was particularly difficult as demand was very high.....

Anonymous said...

I have just received my copy and it's beautiful.

Prior to the publication date, I had contacted my local independent (and awesome!) bookstore to see if it would be possible to order a copy direct from Random House Australia. As someone has said, only three copies were sent here and they were to be used for promotional purposes.

I missed out on a copy with all my usual dealer contacts and was seriously considering buying a copy on the secondary market.

A few weeks ago, the bookstore contacted me to say that they'd been offered a copy by RH and they ordered it for me. Presumably they decided they didn't need the third copy and released it for sale.

Best of all is that I paid the retail price. Sheer luck and a great bookstore - Readings based in Melbourne. Eternal gratitude to Martin Shaw who saw the book and ordered it on my behalf.

My copy is 91/111.