Chapter Two: Edition, Printing and Impression
- An edition: is the number of copies of a book printed before a percentage of the contents is revised.
- A printing: is the number of copies produced when the printing plates or type are on the press.
- An impression: is the same thing as a printing.
- First and Second Printings Before Publication: Orders from book sellers exceded the quantity of the first printing and had to be reprinted before the public release.
- Numbers and Letters:
Some publishers, since the 1940's, have adopted a series of letters or numbers for identifying edition and printing.
A series of letters (abcdef....) or numbers (12345.... or 987654321 or 135798642) appear on the copyright page. "1" or "a"
is an idication of a first edition first printing. Other publishers use a backward method, "First edition bcde...", "First Printing 2345... ," leaving off the "1" or "a" to represent a first edition second printing, and usually the words "First Printing" are removed.
- Book Club Editions:
There are good reasons why one should steer clear of book club editions and there are good reasons to look for them too.
Reasons to stay away from them: They have infiourior quality material. The production process is done as cheaply as possable
and in doing so the book club presses don't have as tight a binding, use cheap paper, reset margins, use smaller fonts, smaller
spacing between words, to reduce the size of a book. Long books will be broken into 2 or more books. This in turn means that
the book is smaller in size, can have up to 100 pages less than an original, and degrade in condition more quickly.
But as I said there are reasons to look for book club editions too. If your a hard cover collector, there are many titles that
the only hard covers produced were by book club publishers. Also there are some books that were sold off to book club houses
before they were put into production and in doing so the book club edition became the true first edition, first printing. These
are good reasons why not to totaly avoid these books and are the reasoning that book collectors look for them, but there is also
another reason to look for book club editions. They make the perfect reading copy. You want to keep you're First/First in as near
mint condition as you can, right? So you don't want to be picking it up and reading it constently. By having the book club edition,
which usually costs a tenth of the price as an original or an average of $10.00 - $15.00 in a fine condition, you can have a
decent hard cover to read and save the original.
Six points to look for:
- No price on the dust jacket. Other than a few modern publishers and University Publishers this is a first indication of a book club edition.
- Book Club Edition printed on the lower inner flap of the dust jacket.
- Lighter, smaller version that does not carry the standard first edition identifier on the copyright page.
- "A Selection of the Book-of-the-Month Club" printed on the dust jacket in the upper front flap where the price usually is printed.
"Book-of-the-Month" was also used as a promotional line, so some books may need to have two or more points compared for identification.
- Back Cover Debossing. An indented geometric symbol, colored or uncolored, at the bottom near the spine. Sometimes found near the top.
- Switched dust jackets. Some publishers use the original plates to print from. These books closely resemble true first editions and have been termed "False Firsts" Dust jackets switched with a "False First" can fool even vetrain dealers and collectors because of the close resemblance.
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