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7-Day Auction Posted:



Notes of a Dirty Old Man, Essex House, California. 1969, 1st edition. (Softcover) Very good. 255pp. Essex House first edition with illustrated wrappers, 6-3 / 4" tall. Mylar protective covering (separate from book) has small pieces missing from top left and lower right front--with book condition as follows: Top left corner of back cover slightly creased with small tear as shown, minor shelf wear discoloration at page edges, otherwise a very good copy of this rare Essex House edition. Scarce.

Copy is in way better condition than another I saw listed (which is listed for twice the starting bid of mine).

Thanks for looking!

or a cover for The Avengers! Btw, what is that thing where the man's belly should be? A sand dollar (Echinarachnius Parma) attached to his liver?
It reminds me of the generic illustration work I would see art students do in college in the late 1960s. No matter what the assignment was, the illustration would be some trippy thing like this that could serve as a sci-fi book cover or a poster for a rock concert. I was an English major but an Art minor so I spent a lot of time hanging around the painters.
Thanks P.S., Rekrab and Black Swan.
The Bukowski-signed copy of Writers Outside the Margin sold.
I want Notes of a Dirty Old Man to find a good home as well.
Some watched but no one bid in the 7-day auction, so I've re-listed Notes of a Dirty Old Man (Essex House, 1969, 1st Edition) and added a Buy It Now option:
A dealer has listed a copy of this book for more than twice the starting bid of mine--mine is in much better condition.
I want it to find a good home with a collector of Bukowski's work.

Here's the back cover:


I'm going to be photographing and listing a Charles Bukowski/Stovepiper collection from '92/'93 soon.
The collection includes:
* Five original black ink drawings Bukowski did on 8-1/2 x 11 white paper, as art submissions to the Stovepiper anthology that I edited and published in late '94.
(These five pages would make very fine framed/displayed artworks--each signed "Buk".)
* Five original poems, as Bukowski submitted them for the anthology.
(I printed three of the poems in the anthology; the two I didn't publish have since been published elsewhere.)
* Two signed letters with drawings from Bukowski.
(Enclosed in original business-sized envelopes.)
* Two large manila envelopes that Bukowski addressed by hand, stamped and mailed.
* Manila S.A.S.E. Bukowski had addressed by hand, stamped and enclosed.
* Copy of Stovepiper signed/numbered on the cover by Steve Richmond.
(Richmond signed/numbered 73 copies.)
If anyone here on the forum is interested in this original collection, I'm considering offers before I list on eBay.
[email protected]
Thanks for looking,
I could be interested in the drawings/letters, depending on the quality. The rest of it, not so much. Those manuscripts are computer print-outs, yeah? Someone will buy it as a collection though.

Your price on Notes may still be way too high. I know others said it was fair, but it's a $60-$75 book on a good day. I paid $60 for a dead mint copy and sold it a couple years ago for the same $60. There's little interest in that edition for some reason, even though it's the first edition of that title.
Books have been slow to sell on eBay lately, and the prices have been low. Other categories do a little better, but prices seem down across the board in most areas I look at. Really exception cool beautiful highly sought after items in great condition still do well. It's the economy, no doubt.
Got response from a Bukowski scholar and writer re: the collection so we'll see.
Speaking of really exceptional cool beautiful highly sought after items in great condition, David,your Death at the Flea Circus box set is an item I need to own at some point in my life.
Nice work, Bottle of Smoke. Unreal, actually. Reminds me of McSweeney's' early stuff.
You fellows don't mess around.
Notes of a Dirty Old Man...waiting to see what happens.
Your price on Notes may still be way too high. I know others said it was fair, but it's a $60-$75 book on a good day. I paid $60 for a dead mint copy and sold it a couple years ago for the same $60. There's little interest in that edition for some reason, even though it's the first edition of that title.

I bought a nice copy but with a somewhat cocked spine from Bill a year or so ago for $75 and his prices are always more than fair (I've probably bought close to 30 items from him and they've all been fairly priced). That's why I thought $100 seemed OK for this one. Maybe we missed on that one a bit.
It seems that lately there have been a few of these show up. When I was buying Bukowski books, there were none of these around unless you were willing to spend some big coin. Al Fogel valued this at $175 in 1999, which was probably right then (maybe a bit high), but as always, when a few of them show up it causes the price to drop. For a mass market paperback, there are very few of these around. I wonder how many they actually printed back in the day?

Krumhansl had the number, I think it's 90,000 - something big like that. It was a drugstore book, so I'm not surprised that very few survived.

There seems to be very little logic where prices on his early publications is concerned. Some things are overvalued, some undervalued.
Rock and roll. Thanks Hank Solo.
Circa 28,000 copies were published 24 January 1969.
Big difference between 28K and 90K.
It's a scarce item and a great book.
I'm in no rush to sell it.

From Bukowski's Foreword to Notes of a Dirty Old Man:
"More than a year ago John Bryan began his underground paper OPEN CITY in the front room of a small two story house that he rented. Then the paper moved to an apartment in front, then to a place in the business district of Melrose Ave. Yet a shadow hangs. A helluva big gloomy one. The circulation rises but the advertising is not coming in like it should. Across in the better part of town stands the L.A. Free Press which has become established. And runs the ads. Bryan created his own enemy by first working for the L.A. Free Press and bringing their circulation from 16,000 to more than three times that. It's like building up the National Army and then joining the Revolutionaries. Of course, the battle isn't simply OPEN CITY vs. FREE PRESS. If you've read OPEN CITY, you know that the battle is larger than that. OPEN CITY takes on the big boys, the biggest boys, and there are some big ones coming down the center of the street, NOW, and real ugly big shits they are, too. It's more fun and more dangerous working for OPEN CITY, perhaps the liveliness rag in the U.S. But fun and danger hardly put margarine on the toast or feed the cat. You give up toast and end up eating the cat..."

I am parting with the rest of my Bukowski stuff.
Bukowski in the Bathtub is next.
That book is awfully damned scarce for 90,000 copies printed, even considering it was a "disposable" drugstore item. I never saw a copy anywhere -- in rare bookshops, personal collections of Buk fans -- ever, all down the years. Seeing Mike's here is actually the first time I've laid eyes on it, unless I've forgotten. Maybe it was one of those paperbacks with a two week shelf life, and then was stripped and the covers sent back to the publisher for a refund, and almost no copies were sold so almost all of them were trashed.

Thanks for the kind words about Flea Circus.
For those that have not worked in a chain bookstore, this is how they do it in the US. Not sure about the UK.

When a new title comes out in mass market paperback, the buyers will choose some titles to display facing out next to the register. To make the book have the best chance of selling, they order a LOT of copies. Your average true crime title would have maybe 10 rows with 5 copies in each row so that they can face-out. Most of the time, we would sell just a few copies. Then a month later, we'd get a memo from the main office asking us to tear the covers off of all but 5 copies
(which were then put in the main part of the store), throw the now-coverless books away and return the covers only to the office so that they could get credit from the publisher.

On a side note, for magazines, we would just have to cut the title off and send that back, throwing away the rest of the magazine.

So, what I'm getting at is to expand on REKRAB's comment, they could have printed 28,000 copies, but it is completely possible that 95% of them were destroyed. That assumes that publishers/bookstores work the same in the UK.

That would be one way to account for the rarity of this title.

My wife works in a bookstore and every week the trash bins are full of stripped magazines. I think they limit the number of copies they order of mass market paperbacks so they don't have to strip and return them.

I recall reading somewhere that back in the 1960s, most Sci-Fi paperbacks had only 2 weeks on the store shelves to sell and then they were stripped. That means that books from major publishers but lesser known authors are rarer than you might think, most copies having been destroyed before they had a chance to find their audience. This must have been very frustrating for the authors -- to work that hard, have the book come out, and then it disappears almost over night and goes instantly out of print.
I don't think they returned the pulp books like that back in the day though. Those drugstore racks in the 60s had some yellowing, dusty shit in them. I would think a publishing house would go bankrupt if they had to take returns from retail stores like that. Just my speculation anyway.

However things like that worked back then, it's more rare than something like Terror Street because the target audiences were different. I would bet that some fans of Bukowski's work in 1969 weren't even aware that this edition of Notes was published at the time.
I recall reading somewhere that back in the 1960s, most Sci-Fi paperbacks had only 2 weeks on the store shelves to sell and then they were stripped.
Well, there you go then. Disregard my last ten thousand posts.
I doubt the Essex House books had distribution at any drug store. They were "high class" porn publishers so they might make it to the front section of the porn stores of L.A., etc.

In one of the online bits I've found about Essex it was noted Samuel Delaney was paid $1000 for one of his novels. And Delaney wasn't too happy with that.

This site has Notes for sale at $195.
It probably depended on the individual drugstore / bookstore how long a paperback sat on the shelves before they gave up on selling it, but I know mass market paperbacks were stripped of their covers in the 1960s because I remember seeing them being resold at flea markets etc. I think the practice began after WWII when paperbacks first became common. The reasoning was that paper was cheaper than transportation, and the publishers lost less money by having the covers only returned for credit and the books trashed. They only did this with cheap paperbacks, not hardcovers. If those didn't sell, they would be remaindered and then, if they still didn't sell at discount, eventually pulped. I had an edition of James Joyce in the 1960s that someone had hand-bound in hardcovers -- it had been a stripped paperback.
Before. The deal for the Essex House Notes was made in late 1968 and his exclusivity agreement with Martin didn't happen until late 1969.
Right, I think that's pretty evident considering he let Erections go to City Lights.

What's funny is those City Lights books are/were how a lot of people got introduced to Bukowski. That Martin considered them too "rough" may have lost him some dough. But then again, those books coming out under BSP might have prevented a lot of those City Lights fans from finding him at all, so it probably all worked out for the best.

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