BOOKER PRICES Clever you if you bought The Narrow Road to the Deep North and asked Richard Flanagan to sign it on publication last year (and even better if you read it). The online rare book dealer AbeBooks sold a rare "unread", mint-condition, signed, Australian first-edition copy for $US1313 ($A1500) after his Man Booker Prize win last week - the company's best ever post-Booker price. "Today a signed first edition of a Booker Prize-winning book is worth three figures as soon as the announcement is made," says Richard Davies at AbeBooks. "The phenomenon of signed copies selling like hot cakes in the immediate aftermath of a book prize announcement is a relatively new thing" - a product of online bookselling, he says and the Booker is the only prize with that effect. AbeBooks has no sales record for True History of the Kelly Gang by Peter Carey after it won the 2001 Booker, though a copy sold for $US475 this year. But signed copies of Life of Pi by Yann Martel sold online for $US250 immediately after its 2002 win and reached a top price of $US3,720 in 2008. Davies says the only "highly collectible" Booker winner is Midnight's Children by Salman Rushdie from 1981: an uncorrected proof sold for $US14,000 last year and signed first editions sell for about $US4000. IN SECOND PLACE It has become traditional for one or more Booker Prize judges to write about the behind-the scenes judging process in a way that would be indiscreet anywhere else. Sarah Churchwell, the American-born professor of American literature at the University of East Anglia, has revealed in a piece for The Guardian that the six judges all loved two books this year: Flanagan's novel and Ali Smith's How to Be Both. Neither of them American, as it happens. Who knows how they made their final choice or how Smith feels about just missing out, but Churchwell writes, "I think Narrow Road is a magnificent book, and I hope everyone sees in it the grandeur we do." ROXON ROCKS ON Lillian Roxon's Rock Encyclopedia was a world first when the Herald's New York correspondent wrote and published it there in 1969, four years before Roxon died from an asthma attack. This month the landmark book is published as Rock Encyclopedia e Altri Scritti in Italy, where Lillian Roxon (pictured) was born before her Polish family migrated to Australia in 1937. Dario Matrone, an editor at the Italian publishing house mimimum fax, had read Mother of Rock, the 2002 biography of Roxon by Australian journalist Robert Milliken. He persuaded his publisher to have the encyclopedia translated with a preface by Milliken and permission from her family (her niece is the former federal Attorney-General Nicola Roxon). Milliken says, "I find it interesting (and a tribute to Lillian) that her work on the great names of the 1960s rock world is finding another readership in the country of her birth 45 years after the book was first published." NSW LIBRARY HONOURS The State Library of NSW renamed its main reference library the Governor Marie Bashir Reading Room this week, and also presented Dame Marie with the Medal of the Library Council of NSW, the highest honour at its inaugural awards. Among others recognised for their contribution to "the cultural enrichment of Australia through library and information excellence" were Belinda Hutchinson, who is chancellor of Sydney University and former president of the library council, and author Kate Grenville, who has used the library's collections in researching her novels.