Clever you if you bought The Narrow Road to the Deep North and asked Richard Flanagan to sign it on publication last year (and even better if you read it). The online rare book dealer AbeBooks sold a rare “unread”, mint-condition, signed, Australian first-edition copy for $US1313 ($A1500) after his Man Booker Prize win last week – the company’s best ever post-Booker price.

“Today a signed first edition of a Booker Prize-winning book is worth three figures as soon as the announcement is made,” says Richard Davies at AbeBooks. “The phenomenon of signed copies selling like hot cakes in the immediate aftermath of a book prize announcement is a relatively new thing” – a product of online bookselling, he says and the Booker is the only prize with that effect.

AbeBooks has no sales record for True History of the Kelly Gang by Peter Carey after it won the 2001 Booker, though a copy sold for $US475 this year. But signed copies of Life of Pi by Yann Martel sold online for $US250 immediately after its 2002 win and reached a top price of $US3,720 in 2008.

Davies says the only “highly collectible” Booker winner is Midnight’s Children by Salman Rushdie from 1981: an uncorrected proof sold for $US14,000 last year and signed first editions sell for about $US4000.

MidnightsChildren