Eragon, the debut novel of young author Christopher Paolini first came to my attention in the fall of 2003. It had been published by then 15 year old Paolini's family in a paperback version in the fall of 2002 by "Paolini International LLC". Before this time, drawing on his isolated Paradise Valley, Montana upbringing, home-schooled Paolini began writing the adventure fantasy when he was "bored out of his mind". Writer Carl Hiaasen and his family went to Paradise Valley for fly-fishing. They went to Books & Music Etc. in Livingston, where owner Tim Gable had Eragon for sale. Hiaasen's stepson Ryan Lindberg (then just out of fifth grade) immediately loved it. Hiaasen called Knopf (publisher of his children's book, Hoot). Editors, copy editors and publicists took over. Now, after 5 years, a sequel completed and the third volume and first movie on the way from Fox 2000 films, Paolini finds himself perennially on the best-seller lists and the future never brighter. Here are the features that are significant about the paperback and 1st printing of the US edition published by Knopf.
Paperback version: Stated publisher is "Paolini International LLC". Blue and grey coloring on cover with blue dragon eye in scales, and white borders on the bottom simply stating "ERAGON Christopher Paolini". On the rear cover, black and white sketch of Paolini in lower right, along with book summary. ISBN "0-9666213-3-6". Interior copyright page stated "first edition" beneath "manufactured in the United States of America".
Knopf Hardback: The first printing of the hardback was released by Knopf Publishing in the United States only. The paper dustjacket is unique for the 1st printing in that it has a single quote from Anne McCaffrey on the back. You will also find the price 3 times of "$18.95" located on the back dustjacket page, the inside flap rear, and the inside flap front. The inside flap rear has a color headshot of Christopher Paolini. The exterior of the hardback book is a black spine with gold "Paolini" and "Eragon" and "Knopf". The exterior flaps of the book are blue. Do not be confused by the book club edition exterior hardback which is all black covering, and has a glossy dustjacket.. The copyright page is designated a first printing by the publishing date of "August 2003" and the number line descending "10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1". Subsequent printings lose some of the number line but will still keep the "August 2003".