David Sedaris admits to making $4,000 in tips on book tour

David-SedarisImage Credit: Christine Kokot/DPA/LandovBook tours are a great way for authors to promote their work, meet their biggest fans, and — if you’re impish author David Sedaris (Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk: A Modest Bestiary) — make a few bucks in the process. “A couple of books ago, I put a tip jar on my signing table and I made over $4,000 on my tour,” Sedaris told Canada’s National Post. “The problem was then I started hating people who didn’t tip me. I didn’t say anything to them, but I would just sit there thinking, ‘You cheap son of a bitch. I just signed four books and you can’t even give me a dollar?’ And why should they? But I just got so involved in it. I had to stop doing it.”

Would you give Sedaris a tip at a signing? And would that tip be: “Don’t have a tip jar at a signing?”

Read more about David Sedaris:
David Sedaris speaks of creatures great and small in an exclusive clip from ‘Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk’

EW Feature: Where in the World Is David Sedaris?

EW Exclusive: David Sedaris lends his support to National Audiobook Month

Comments (45 total) Add your comment
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  • ak

    seriously, Sedaris? Do you even begin to understand how unfathomably lucky you are that the world knows how much raw talent lies in your pen? you’re DAVID SEDARIS. you want tips to sign a book? please. you’re name is at every major bookstore in this country, and that’s just the least of it. lame move

    • Baddog

      AK, as the flight attendants would say…your trash…your trash…your familys trash…..(only true Sedarists will get this!)

      • Nurse Love

        Brilliant man and SwedenDatingSite was Amazing

    • Big Walt

      I’m guessing ak has never read anything by Sedaris.

    • ?who?

      calm down he obviously didn’t want money, he wanted a different kind of tip

  • ak

    *before the trolly trollertons get on me, i meant YOUR. not YOU’RE.

  • huh

    no tip if i just bought his book which was probably overpriced as most books are in bookstores. i will say that i am always very tempted to put a tip jar on my desk at work. tipping gotten way outta hand.

  • Jennifer

    I love David Sedaris so much I’d tip him my firstborn child. But I know he wouldn’t want it and would put it in the washing machine.

    • Couchtime With Jill

      Awesome comment. :)

    • Brigid

      10 Points

    • Kaye George

      Me, too, Jennifer. And my first born is now too big to fit in the washer. But some of my grandchildren….

  • Couchtime With Jill

    Oh come on, that’s hilarious. He recently came to my city and was incredibly charming, engaging and hilarious. Plus he told me my joke was “well put”, which basically made my life.

  • kim

    I think it is hysterical. Of course I’d leave him a tip, but it would most likely be something like Mike Tyson’s false teeth or stunned flies to feed his spiders.

  • JLC

    It would be even funnier if at one end of the table he had the jar and at the other end a sign that said “No Tipping, Please.”

    • valerie


  • JenJen

    Yes. You should have to pay to be in his presence. As long as he isn’t wearing a Stadium Pal. . .

    • Judd

      “The window seat on an overbooked cross-country flight? Don’t mind if I do!”

  • ?????

    Its kind of brilliant.

  • Anthony

    He signed five of my books in 2004 in San Francisco. He asked me if I was spending the night in the city. I said no because I didn’t have the money so it was just a day trip. He wrote in one of the books “I’m sorry you’re so poor” and he gave me a dollar. Maybe this dollar came from a tip jar.

    • Nan

      Hilarious! That interaction would have made my life.

      • grindy

        Mine too, Nan.

    • Amie

      Outstanding. I just met him at a reading/signing a few weeks ago myself, and he could not have been more gracious, kind, and funny. David Sedaris rules.

  • Chris Ratliff


  • Christopher Boffoli

    Yeah, I’ll give him a tip: Stay out of the rain.

    • Jose

      nastodometticosed August 23, 2011 You gotta try it … if you like nut butters, of course haha. Otherwise, it would be kinda silly.

  • Brian

    Now everyone make sure to believe 100% of this because:

    (1) David Sedaris never fabricates or embellishes any of his stories, and

    (2) All Canadian entertainment sources can be fully trusted to accurately quote someone.

    • Strepsi

      Haha! +100
      TV Guide Canada will never live down inventing a feud between Ed O’Neill and Jane Lynch

  • Nan

    I’d be tempted to drop a nickle in his tip jar, just to see how he reacted. I made the mistake (or good fortune) of taking one of his books to read to jury duty (When You are Engulfed in Flames). It actually made the time fly by until they DIDN’T call my number, but I kept bursting out in laughter in the jury pool room and got many strange stares from people.

  • orville

    Sure, why not? Both he and his sister have spoken at the American Library Assn. annual conference in recent years and their speeches were the highlight of the conference. I got him to sign a CD for my brother’s Christmas present and I have an autographed poster hanging in my office (with a little doodle besides).

    Besides, it’s hilarious. I just wish I could get away with a tip jar on my desk.

    • wendy

      I think I’m going to try it (the tip jar) and just see what happens. Should be good for a laugh.

    • Donna

      Hi,I was just wdeonring why there is no flyer for your Bloor St. (Etobicoke) location? I live near there, hence the question.Thanks

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