AbeBooks Explains how to Identify a First Edition Book

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hi my name is Richard from a books and

today I'm going to talk to you about

identifying the first edition of a book

a first edition is the first appearance

of a title by a specific publisher now

there are many publishers and they all

use different methods of defining a

first edition and those methods often

change if you're a collector you're

interested in obtaining the true first

edition that's the first the original

printing of a book you might be lucky

and the publisher may actually state the

words first edition or first printing on

the copyright page that's the page

containing all the bibliographical data

another common method of identification

is the number line that's a line of

numbers found on a copyright page if

there is a one in the sequence of

numbers that usually indicates that it's

a first edition the line sequence could

ascend or descend will have no

discernable order depending on the

publisher all of these number lines here

are first editions sometimes the number

line is also accompanied by the words

first edition but be careful because

some publishers leave on the words first

edition even when the book is in its

third printing and that fact is

reflected in the three in this number

line this number line indicates a second

printing from 1975 some publishers make

no statement at all about first editions

but booksellers learn to identify first

by other means there might be a defining

line of text on the dust jacket or

perhaps the line of text within the main

body of the book has been corrected in

later editions many book club editions

can look very similar to true first

editions and actually state first

edition or have a complete number line

but if there is no price on the dust

jacket then that's a sign of a book club

edition and it's not a first when you

see a bookseller using the words first

fuss this does not indicate a true first

edition it means the book may be the

first edition of something new a revised

edition a paperback or a new version of

the book published by a completely

different publisher eight books itself

is a great resource for learning about

first editions search for a first

edition and then refine your results to


so first you should also obtain a guide

to first editions we recommend build

McBride's pocket guide to the

identification of first editions and

also the latest edition of collected

books a guide to identification and

values by Allen and Patricia Ahern

bibliographies are also going to be

essential especially if you're

collecting the works of a specific

author and that is a very brief guide to

identifying first editions