Book Editions and Printings...continued...2

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11. Can there be more than one "First"?

Yes, and this is where it starts to get really complicated, as if it isn't complicated enough already. Take a look at figure 16. In this case the book was simultaneously released in a hardcover edition (cloth) and a trade paperback edition (paper). Which is the first? This situation occurs frequently with publications from university presses.

Where this all starts to get funky is when a seller (or buyer) is not aware of an earlier edition and therefore takes the
copyright page at its word. For example Here's another great example using Dean Koontz's Tick Tock, figure 17
Can't tell the difference?

Let me zoom in just a little. We now have an "international" edition figure 18 and a (non international) regular edition figure 19. In this case the paperbacks did come first so one of them must be the first edition. (There was a hardcover released in the UK but that came after the paperback editions in this example.)

Let's move on to the copyright pages and try to sort this out...What we have here is the Canadian "international" , edition figure 20 and the US edition, figure 21. (Both actually printed in the US but that's not the issue here.)

They both say that they are "First" editions but one obviously came out before the other. The final word on this one would be that the Canadian copy is the "true first". (We'll get to what a "true first" is in just a moment.) And just when you thought is was over, Bantam went and published a copy of Tick Tock.

They graciously listed the publishing history of this title for us, figure 22. Unfortunately, they did not take into account any of the foreign editions, which is typical, but quite important in this case. We just determined that the US Ballantine edition was the second paperback edition but this history implies that this is the second edition...


12. What is a "True First"?

A "true first" is considered to be the very first edition and printing of a book that was released. For example, for the past several years the UK release of Dean Koontz novels have preceded the US release by a month or two. When auctioning off these UK copies, many of the sellers will list this as a "true first". However, if ANY OTHER edition of this book was released prior to the one they are selling, then it is no longer a "true first".

13. Is it a limited edition?

Take a look at figure 23. Is this the copyright page for the trade edition or the limited edition?

    In this case the publisher, Putnam, has used the exact same pages in both editions. The difference is in the binding and an extra page in the limited edition stating that it is the limited. Why do I include this scenario here? Because I have seen books like this on eBay for sale as limited editions "because the copyright page says it's a limited edition." All this really says is that there was a limited edition printed by the same publisher. If the copyright page listed an ISBN for a paperback and a hardcover and you were selling the paperback, would you list it as a hardcover because the copyright page said so? Of course not. Limited editions, always have some other indication of their limited status. Usually an extra page stating so.

Some publishers will state on the copyright page if a limited edition has been previously published by another publisher. Knopf did this in the trade edition of Dean Koontz's Intensity stating "A signed first edition of this book has been privately printed by The Franklin Library". Unfortunately, neither Ballantine nor Bantam have made this statement in their paperback editions...

14. What about "galleys", "proofs", "advance reader copies", and "presentation copies"?

I'm going to take these one at a time...
Galleys are copies of the book created solely for the purpose of copy editors at the publisher. These are generaly low- quality photocopies of the author's manuscript. Sometimes they are bound, but if so usually cheaply in some sort of spiral binding.
Proofs are the next step in the process. At this point the book has been typeset and the pages have been printed as they will look in the final edition. The book has been through the editing process but has not been finalized. These copies have paper covers and may or may not have the final artwork. They are given to the author to proof for any last
minute mistakes. Often these editions are also sent out to reviewers and booksellers to promote the book.
Advance reader (or reading) copies, also known as ARCs are finished copies of the book sent out to individuals for promotional purposes.

Unfortunately, these terms are used almost interchangeable in the bookselling trade and even by the publishers. Many ARCs are marked as such on the cover but also state "made from page proofs". This makes them proofs, but since the cover says "advance reading copy" the book will be listed as such. Many booksellers also believe that all ARCs are proofs. This is not necessarily true. Neither are they necessarily galleys, which is also used in place of the term proof.

Lastly are the presentation copies. This circumstance arises, in the case of limited editions. For example, Dean Koontz's Dark Rivers of the Heart was published in a limited edition of 200 numbered copies. On the statement of limitation page of my copy it has "P/C" written in where the number should be. This indicates that it is a presentation copy. These are copies that have been printed above the stated limited number of copies. These are generally kept by the publisher or given to the author to do with what they wish.

There is a small controversy over whether presentation copies are worth more than their "regular" counterparts. Some claim that they aren't worth more, and maybe even less, since they are the leftovers. Others say they are worth more, or at least equal, since there are even fewer of them than of the "regulars". I have my opinion but I'll leave this
on up to you.
So, what about these editions when it comes to finding the elusive "true first". They always come out before any other editions. Yet, I have never seen and advance copy listed as a "true first". What I can conclude from this is that the definition of a "true first" is based upon editions released to the general public. I'm not sure I agree with this but it will have to stand for now.

15. Then came the BCE...

These editions are worthless in most cases but they still need to be discussed for the following reasons:
1. Completists, those who want to own a copy of every edition, do purchase these to add to their collections.  
2. Many sellers do not know or understand the value of these books and sell them as if they were worth something.
How to identify a BCE
The following list are all indications (though not all definitive) of a BCE. If one or more of the non-definitive items
appear further investigation is necessary.
    * Smaller size non-definitive
    * Edited copyright page non-definitive
    * DJ matches pbk cover non-definitive
    * BC number definitive
    * BCE statement definitive
    * Poor binding (glued w/o cloth) non-definitive
    * No date non-definitive
    * No ISBN non-definitive

In very limited cases some BCE's can have limited to significant value.
    If the BCE is the only hardcover edition.
    and / or
    Specialized book club editions, such as the "The Dean Koontz Book Club", when they are available only through subscription.
    and / or
    If the BCE includes additional material, such as a new introduction or afterword, only available in that edition.
An additional note on BCEs and ISBNs: Some of the newer book club editions include the ISBN of the non-BCE edition that they were based on. The appearance of this ISBN does not make a BCE a non-BCE. One clue is the appearance of a mass-market paperback ISBN on a hardcover book. In that case, it's probable a BCE.

16. What is a "state"?

A state is generally more complicated than I wanted to get in this text (it is already complicated enough as you've notices), but it comes up so I will discuss it briefly here.
A state is a variation in a book, but still within the same printing. When books were manually printed, minor changes may have been made in the middle of a print run. For example, after printing 100 copies, the printer noticed that a word had been misspelled. The type for that word alone would be changed and printing would continue. In this case, not enough has changed to even justify a "new printing". Copies before the fix would be considered the "first state". Copies after the fix would be considered a "second state."

A more recent example would be the US 1st hardcover edition of Salem's Lot which went through three dust jackets before the second printing of the book. The jacket was initially priced at $8.95, and, prior to publication, the price was clipped by the publisher and a $7.95 sticker was affixed. In this case the book itself had not changed at all nor gone back for another printing.

One last example: The first trade hardcover edition of Dean Koontz's Sole Survivor came in two states: signed and unsigned. In this case, the books were printed and then an unstated quantity were signed by Mr. Koontz and a sticker stating that the book was signed was affixed to the front of the dust jacket. All of the books were the same edition and the same printing, just some were signed and some were not.

17. Any other variations to consider?

Besides the typical hardcover, trade paperback and mass-market paperback editions commonly found in stores, there are other editions that you may, or may not, want to consider. These include large print, audio books, translations, ex-library copies.

In most cases, these editions are not worth much to collectors. Only those that insist on attempting to own "every" edition of a book collect these editions.

Thanks for reading!

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