How to know if a book is first edition

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how to know if a book is first edition

How do I tell if my book is a first edition?

The main characteristics of a first edition first issue are a print line that reads 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 and the crediting of "Joanne Rowling", not JK. Prices for later editions in good condition are in three figures. In , JK Rowling was still a jobbing author rather than a worldwide superstar richer than the Queen, so there are a reasonable number of signed first editions available from her book tour signings. Deluxe editions can be priced in four figures if signed. First edition first printings will have the number line 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 and a block of misaligned text on page seven.
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How to easily identify a modern first edition book

Identifying and Collecting First Editions

The first thing you want to do is check the copyright date! If the copyright date is the same as the year the book was published, then that is a good first sign! This will fluctuate depending on the publishing house, but most publishers will designate that a book is a first edition on the copyright page. To collectors, it refers to the very first version of the physical book to be printed. Many publishers will print the hardcover edition of a book and call that a first edition, then print the same text in paperback and call it a first edition as well. Print runs are the set number of copies of the book printed at one time. It is a sequence of numbers, usually 1—10, and printed in descending or alternating order.

You can now probably understand why there is so much debate about first editions. If there are two or more books described as a first edition, then a collector.
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How To Tell If a Book is Valuable

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.

Like many things in publishing, what denotes a first edition can be complex and dependent on the whims of individual publishing houses. But there are a few very basic rules that can be helpful—and keep in mind these are for the person who has never examined a copyright page and is new to analyzing what editions they have. So, if the publisher prints 5, copies of a book, they all sell, and the publisher goes back to print more of the same version of the book? That is a second printing, first edition. If the publisher sells out of the first run and goes back for another printing, that second printing is not considered a true first edition, even if the copyright page says it is.

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. Zempel more than 1, different publishers and their ways of designating a First Edition are listed - most follow the above guidelines, but there are many that have a unique way of designating a first edition.


  1. Petrona M. says:

    The Beginner's Guide to Identifying First Editions, Part One

  2. Louis L. says:

    While most publishers will lay out the information for you, it may still be tricky to find.

  3. Earrecalpe says:

    Number Lines

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