I just returned from the library with a copy of a new hardcover … the same title I bought a month ago at a signing.
I'd driven an hour-and-a-half to the downtown event, paid to park, then paid full retail for title at the independent bookstore that hosted the event.
After hearing the author speak, I waited in line to get the new book signed. Plus hardcover copies of some of the author's first books. And especially an advanced reading copy (ARC) of the new title.
Why didn't I simply read the signed copy? If you were a book collector, you wouldn't have to ask. Signed copies get wrapped in mylar covers to protect their dust jackets, then placed on a special shelf with others by the same author.
Unsigned, less-than-perfect copies are relegated to the status of “reading copies.” Like the one I checked out from the library.
I'm far from a hard-core collector. I limit myself to just a few authors and refuse to pay hundreds of dollars for rare first printings, let alone try to accumulate all the large-print editions, book club editions, and foreign editions. But driving multiple hours to a signing? What's unreasonable about that?