First Editions of Pride and Prejudice, Emma, and Other Jane Austen Novels Can Be Yours

GeorgiosArt, iStock via Getty Images
GeorgiosArt, iStock via Getty Images

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen hasn't been out of print since its initial publication in 1813. Now, fans of the British classic have a chance to own an original copy. On February 20, first editions of all of Austen's beloved books—including Pride and Prejudice, Emma, and Persuasion—are hitting the auction block.

Born in England in 1775, Austen is one of the most influential British writers of all time. Her stories are famous for their witty commentary of English society, and they've been adapted into everything from modern rom-coms to an apocalyptic zombie novel.

First editions of her books from the early 19th century will go up for bid at an auction organized by Swann Auction Galleries in New York. A three-volume print of Pride and Prejudice from 1813 is expected to fetch between $20,000 and $30,000. The copy of Emma, which was printed in 1816, has an estimated value of $15,000 to $20,000, while Sense and Sensibility from 1816 is projected to earn $30,000 to $40,000. The first edition of Sense of Sensibility (published as "By a Lady") comes from a run of no more than 1000 copies that sold out in less than two years. The two other novels up for bid are Northanger Abbey and Mansfield Park.

The Austen works for sale are part of Swann's upcoming auction of fine books and manuscripts. A signed limited-edition copy of the Virginia Woolf short story "Kew Gardens" will be sold at the same event. You can view the items here before the auction goes live on Thursday.

First-edition of Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen.
Swann Auction Galleries

First-edition of Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen.
Swann Auction Galleries

J.K. Rowling Announces ‘Harry Potter at Home’ Site With Magical Crafts and Activities for Everyone Stuck Inside

J.K. Rowling in 2012.
J.K. Rowling in 2012.
Ben Pruchnie/Getty Images

Growing up, Harry Potter was no stranger to self-isolation and social distancing—spending endless hours in the cupboard under the stairs and steering clear of the Dursleys whenever possible—and now, he’s here to help us all through it.

J.K. Rowling took to Twitter to announce the launch of “Harry Potter at Home,” a digital hub on WizardingWorld.com with crafts, quizzes, puzzles, and articles for new fans and long-time Potterheads alike. You can, for example, watch a step-by-step tutorial on how to draw a cuddly little Niffler, find words like butterbeer and troll in an online word search, and check out a handy guide to reading the Harry Potter books for the first time.

As Variety reports, the project is mainly a joint venture between Rowling’s American publishing houses, Bloomsbury and Scholastic. And Audible is getting in on the magical action, too—the Amazon-owned audiobook company has made the audio edition of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, read by Stephen Fry, free to stream on its Audible Stories site. Library provider OverDrive is making the audiobook and the e-book versions of the first novel freely available through the end of April, and you can easily access them through the Libby app.

Rowling has even granted permission for teachers to record videos of themselves reading from any Harry Potter book and share it with their students, as long as it’s posted to a secure school network or other closed video platform.

In general, the primary goal of “Harry Potter at Home” is to help children stay occupied and intellectually stimulated while stuck inside during the coronavirus pandemic, but you definitely don’t have to be a student to appreciate the hub’s activities and resources. As the Wizarding World team said in the announcement, it’s “a place for you to feel the warmth of the fire in the Gryffindor common room or a much-needed hug from Mrs Weasley.”

[h/t Variety]

5 Ways to Help Independent Bookstores During the Coronavirus Crisis

Justin Sullivan, iStock via Getty Images
Justin Sullivan, iStock via Getty Images

Independent bookstores are among the many businesses feeling the impact of the novel coronavirus crisis. While independent stores definitely have a place in their communities, high overhead costs and competition with bigger retailers means indie booksellers are especially vulnerable during a time where businesses are being forced to close their doors. Even if you're stuck inside for the foreseeable future, here are some ways you can support your local bookstores while staying safe.

1. Order books from independent bookstores.

Many people are looking for activities they can do at home, and that includes reading. If you're stocking up on books to get you through quarantine, be mindful of where you purchase them from. Your money will go much farther at an independent bookstore. If your favorite store doesn't do online orders and deliveries, do some research until you find a local shop that does. To help you get started, here are some great options in all 50 states.

2. Purchase a gift card.

If you can't visit your local bookstore to show your support in person, now's a great opportunity to buy a gift card. The purchase will provide cash to the business at a critical time, and when it's safe to go shopping again, you'll be able to treat yourself to a new book. Visit the website of an independent bookstore in your community to see if they're selling gift cards online.

3. Buy merchandise.

Books aren't the only items you can get from your neighborhood bookstore. If your home library is already fully stocked, browse the online shops of indie booksellers for literary swag. Sooner or later, you'll have an opportunity to show off your new t-shirts and tote bags.

4. Donate to a relief fund.

The most direct way to help indie bookstores at this time is to make a monetary donation. Your local bookshop may already have an online relief fund set up to support its business and laid-off employees during the novel coronavirus crisis. The Book Industry Charitable Foundation is currently accepting donations for booksellers facing a range of issues related to COVID-19, including rent, utility bills, medical expenses, and unexpected loss of income.

5. Download audiobooks from librO.fm.

Prefer audiobooks to physical copies? You can still use your purchasing power to help small businesses. The audiobook platform libro.fm is currently donating 100 percent of first sales from new members to independent bookstores. With the code SHOPBOOKSTORESNOW, you can sign up today and get two downloads for the price of one book.

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