How to identify first edition books

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how to identify first edition books

First Edition Identification by Publisher A-G | Book Collecting Tips

While most publishers will lay out the information for you, it may still be tricky to find. This article was co-authored by our trained team of editors and researchers who validated it for accuracy and comprehensiveness. Together, they cited information from 9 references. Categories: Books. Learn why people trust wikiHow. Co-authored by wikiHow Staff Updated: September 7,
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How to Identify First Editions

In the case of titles published before , the key to first-edition identification is often the date on the title page. The vast majority of first editions published before had the year of publication on the title page this is true for fiction and nonfiction titles. The presence of a date on the title page alone may identify books published prior to the mids as first editions.

How to Identify a First Edition Book

AddAll used books One of my favorite sites for gauging marketability of a book. How can I tell if a book is a first printing? The picture at left shows a portion of the Copyright Page in a book that was published in On the bottom is the number line that counts down from 10 to 1. The presence of "1" on the low end of the number line indicates that this book is a first printing. There are a few exceptions to the above guidelines plus many unconventional ways different publishers may indicate first edition.

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As we've mentioned elsewhere, first edition means the first printing of a book. Edition and printing can be used fairly interchangeably in talking about collectible books, especially in regard to modern fiction. For the most part, the first edition of a book is more meaningful to the world of book collectors than it was to the publisher who printed it. That's because the first printing only represents a portion of the total number of copies of a book that the publisher hopes to sell. That first printing is just an installment on what they hope to be a long term investment in that book. The first printing of a book might contain a few thousand copies.

We venture to say that no other piece of terminology has caused so much contention among booksellers and collectors as that of first edition. In publishing terms, an edition is technically all copies of a book that were printed from the same setting of type and the book is only described as a second edition if substantial changes are made to the copy. However, in collecting terms, a very rough description of first edition would be when it is the first appearance of a work in question. To shed a little more light, the first time a publisher releases a new book all copies of that book that are printed without major changes can be considered a first edition. If the initial print run of this first edition sells out and the publisher decides to produce a subsequent printing with the same typeset the book would be described as a first edition, second printing. On the other hand, if substantial changes are made to the book after its first printing, perhaps the addition of a chapter or a foreword, then the book would be described as the second edition.

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