Find Your Book: Rage by Richard Bachman

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

I've referred to Richard Bachman's "Rage" numerous times in this blog, because it is an interesting book. It is, of course, written by Stephen King, under his pseudonym Richard Bachman.

It is a particularly valuable book because of it's rarity, and the fact that it will never be reprinted. Stephen King has forbidden it being reprinted, 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 Stephen King has 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" for $5 when I got lucky (thank you Thriftbooks!). I was able to sell it for $600 on Amazon months later. Books like this do not sell quickly, but they will sell, so if you're patient, finding books like these can be a lot of fun.

But what if you just want the story for your own and you are not a collector and there isn't a copy that you can easily buy? "Rage", again, is interesting in that it is written under a pseudonym, does not have a hardcover edition, and has limited printings to choose from. When you're a collector, that all sounds great. When you just want to read the book, for example if you are a Stephen King fan and completist, then it becomes a pain in the rear.

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 is the first printing, and was 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, and the cover is yellow with a student leaning back in a chair above the title. This book 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, not to collect. Even though it is quite valuable, it is 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: 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 listings on Amazon and both occasionally are good values. Both are also the same book. But one in particular is odd, in that Amazon has it listed incorrectly as "The Baghman Books". So check both listings, as this book can be gotten under $40, it is hard cover, and includes all four stories in a book that will at some point likely be collectible. 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 grow in value 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.

There is one edition that is very easy to find, but useless for the purpose of reading. It is indeed still called "The Bachman Books". But it only includes three of the four Bachman books. It was published buy 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 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" on its own, likely the only hardcover edition of the book outside of the anthology. 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 with his given name on the cover of "Rage". But, it is in French, and it is not likely to become highly valuable. So it would be mostly for fun, and yet it is still $150.

I was unable to locate any prospective English-only editions from the UK to 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.


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