Landing free autographs can be easy … if you buy the book

Legendary actor Tom Hanks, $19.77. Wrestling icon Ric Flair and his WWE star daughter Charlotte, $19.98.

Those are the prices this collector paid for the latest additions to his autograph collection thanks to the signed books section at one major book chain’s website — a new reminder that one of the easiest ways to land autographs from some big names is to watch the new arrival lists.

It’s a little oldschool — you don’t have to pay for the autograph just the book?!? — and a little risky as you have to buy from the right places using some strategy, but it’s one way that many collectors have landed ink without forking over big bucks or ripping packs to chase a particular name. (Some names, like Hanks for example, don’t even have card appearances.)

This particular site is Barnes & Noble, which has a section for signed books — make sure to order those directly from the company (it makes deals with publishers to get privately signed books and host signings) and not from its marketplace dealers (that could be riskier depending on how vetted).

To play it safe, you should consider ordering two books that way you can compare signature sizes, strokes and locations to ensure that there are no pre-prints or autopens being pawned off to the book chains (it has happened just in the last year with Wayne Gretzky). If they don’t meet your standards, you can send ’em back.

My two autographed books are actually pre-orders set to arrive later this month and early next month, but I have no doubts that they’ll deliver. The Flairs have shared signing photos on social media before “The Nature Boy” had his health scare. And how did I find out about it? A tweet from him, of course. (Woo!)

Other autos that can be had for less than (or little more than) the price of a blaster box of cards right now? Maria Sharapova, Julian Edelman, Chuck D., Kevin Hart, Al Gore, “The Science Guy” Bill Nye and Tyler Perry to name a few. There’s even one signed by rising portrait artist George W. Bush. His is pricier since it’s an “art book.”

This, of course, is just one chain and one assortment of signed books. There are others — Books-A-MillionBook Soup and Bookends to name three — where you can land ink with some hunting and regular schedule checks for signings and appearances. There are some big names among those found there that you can land right now — Anna Faris, Kate Hudson, Gabrielle Union, Danica Patrick, Bruce Campbell, Caitlyn Jenner and Steve Spurrier … check ’em out. A gallery of the Barnes & Noble signed books that caught my eye are in the gallery below.

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