Rage by Richard Bachman: Find Your Book

Rage by Richard Bachman is very expensive for a paperback book. So what do you do if you're a Stephen King fan and want a copy for yourself?

I've referred to Richard Bachman's "Rage" a few times in this blog already, it really is an interesting book. It was (as you certainly know) written by Stephen King, under his pseudonym Richard Bachman.

It is a particularly valuable book, both because of its rarity, and the fact that it will never be reprinted. Stephen King has forbidden its reprint, and there aren't a lot of copies to begin with.

On top of that, there's an interesting story behind it. The subject matter surrounds a school shooting, and reportedly Stephen King made an effort to buy up copies to remove them from the shelves. All that adds up to a valuable and collectible book.

I purchased a copy of "Rage" once for $5 when I got lucky (thank you Thriftbooks!). I was able to sell it for $600 on Amazon months later. It is even more expensive now.

Books like this do not sell quickly, but they will sell in time. So if you're patient, finding books like these can be a lot of fun. It is currently $1500 used on Amazon.

But what if you just want the book so you can read it? If you are not a real collector, there isn't likely a copy that you can easily buy.

"Rage" is unique among collectibles in that it is written under a pseudonym, does not have a hardcover edition, and has limited printings to choose from to begin with. When you're a collector, that all sounds great. When you just want to read the book, or are a Stephen King fan and completist, then it becomes a real pain.

So let's take a look at all of the printings of "Rage" by Richard Bachman. We will exclude non-english editions from this list.

The 1977 edition was the first printing, published by Signet. It has a black cover with a student brooding on a teacher's desk and red lettering of the title. The ISBN is is 0451076451. This is the most expensive edition, and normally you would not expect to find one in particularly good condition. They are about $1,000 and even those are dog-eared and faded.

In 1983, the book was republished by by New English Library Limited. The cover is yellow with a student leaning back in a chair above the title. This edition is about half the value of the first edition, but again, the condition even for a $500 copy is generally poor. The ISBN is 0450053792. This is essentially a book in a condition to read folded in half, not to collect. But even so it is quite valuable. It is just not going to impress anyone to look at it.

There really aren't any other highly collectible versions of this book. But there are other valuable versions that were printed as anthologies, and the anthologies are where someone that just wants the story can find a copy without breaking the bank.

In 1985 New American Library produced what I think is probably the best choice for readers, and potentially collectors -- a hardcover edition of "The Bachman Books: Four Early Novels". This anthology includes four of Stephen King's early novels: "Rage", "The Long Walk", "Roadwork", and a story that became a movie, "The Running Man". But this edition has two separate listings on Amazon and both occasionally are good values. Both are also the same book. But one is peculiar, in that Amazon has it listed incorrectly as "The Baghman Books".

Occasionally misspellings lead to good values on collectibles, so check both listings. This book can be gotten under $40 occasionally, it is hard cover, and includes all four stories in a book that will at some point likely be worth considerably more. The ISBN for this book is 0453005071.

Also in 1985 a string of paperback and mass market paperback editions of "The Bachman Books" were published, a common ISBN being 0451147367. These versions are unlikely to be particularly valuable though, and can be a bit tricky to buy as "Rage" was eventually removed from the anthology. If you buy it, stick with 1980s editions.

A later edition is very easy to find, but useless for collecting or reading. It is still (misleadingly) called "The Bachman Books". But it only includes three of the four Bachman books. It was published by Hodder in 2012, and this book is the result of Stephen King refusing to reprint "Rage". Obviously there are numerous copies available, most for under $20. And not worth half that, if you are hoping to find a copy of "Rage" to read.

If you do run across a paperback of "Rage", of course pick it up. I did. But I won't run across another $5 copy of it anytime soon. If I were to buy another copy, I would buy the 1985 hardcover edition of "The Bachman Books", enjoy reading it, take good care of the dust cover, and set it aside for later.

There is a French version in hardcover of "Rage" as a standalone title, likely the only hardcover edition of the book outside of the anthologies. It was printed in 1994, and if you're truly a Stephen King fan it actually might be something you would enjoy having, as it is the only edition of "Rage" with his given name on the cover. But, it is in French, and is mostly for collectors. It would fun to own, and it is already $150 or more so if you find it for less, go for it.

I was unable to locate any English-only editions from the UK that we could add to this list, but if you know of others please tell us about it at comments@bookbuys.com.

If you simply want to read a marginal PDF conversion of the text of the story, you can find one here: Rage by Richard Bachman PDF. I have glanced through it and it seems complete, but I can't be certain. I am certain that the reproduction itself is unlikely to remain forever, so download it while you can.

About the author: I have not read Rage by Richard Bachman. But I have owned a half dozen copies of at least three versions of it.

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