Why First Editions? | Book Collecting TipsContact me by fax. Rarity does not simply mean that something is old or hard to find. A rare book is one that is important, desirable, and scarce. An important book had a profound effect when it was printed and continues to be influential. A number of factors can affect the scarcity of a book, including printing history, the number of copies printed or sold, the quality of the paper and binding the more fragile the book, the less likely it will survive in fine condition , any controversy surrounding the book, its popularity or lack of it and its genre. Early herbals, law books, cookbooks and Bibles often bear the marks of extensive use as well.
My 1st Edition Book Collection - Antique Books
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.
What is a First Edition?
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. As those copies are shipped out to bookstores and sold, publishers will start a second printing to meet consumer demand.
In the simplest terms, a first edition is the first commercially distributed version of a book. For the purposes of modern collectible books, first edition is shorthand for the first printing of the first edition of a work. There isn't any one profile of the collector. People come to book collecting through many channels, but the one constant is that a book collector has formed an emotional connection to a particular book or body of works for one reason or another. For the collector, reading those books is no longer enough.
What are first edition books? How do I tell if my book is a first edition? We answer these questions and more to help budding collectors. As BookBreak paid a visit to second hand bookshops this week, we are offering our pointers on how to spot a first edition book. A first edition is a book that has been printed and distributed for the first time.
The numbering of book editions is a special case of the wider field of revision control.
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Curated Collections of First Editions
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.
A first edition is the first printing of a book. It's true that a first edition may have one or more printings and that a second edition will normally be noted only if there are actual changes, usually major, in the text. But for a collector, a first printing is the only true first edition. Within the first printing there can be differences that make the earlier books in the printing more valuable than the later books in the same printing. These differences are identified by "points," which are discussed elsewhere. If it's difficult to explain book collecting in general, the reason for collecting first editions is even more difficult to explain to those who are not afflicted with the mania.