"You forget what you want to remember, and you remember what you want to forget." - Cormac McCarthy
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Welcome to First Edition Points
We are an online reference guide providing collectors the details
necessary to help identify modern first edition books.
Today's Most Referenced First Edition Criteria and Points
How to Establish the Value of a Book
The key to establishing a book's value is to first ensure that it is a first edition. A first editions is the earliest printed copy of a published book. Collectors look for first edition books because these tend to have the highest demand and the greatest potential to increase in value over time. There are standard identification criteria that first editions conform because most, but not all, first edition books follow an established identification method established by each book publisher. These first edition criteria are details about what a book looked like when it was initially printed as a first edition. These details include details such as certain codes on the copyright page, the type of the binding, and particular text on the dust jacket.
In addition to the first edition criteria, there are sometimes points of issue that describe some part of a book which changes during the first printing without the standard first edition identification of the publisher changing, thus creating some copies of the first edition that have the point, and some that do not have the point. The most common type of first edition points of issue are typographical mistakes that were changed during the first printing. In these cases, the copies with the mistake are more desirable because they represent the earliest state of a first edition.
The fedpo.com website helps a collector understand the identification criteria and any first edition points of issue by describing details such as a book's binding, a specific typographical error, or a dust jacket review that can only be found on the earliest printings. First edition criteria and points of issue are usually subtle, but they are important features that distinguish a rare first edition from a common reprint.
The most common first edition criteria can be found on a book's copyright page. The copyright page may say that a book is a first edition, or a first printing, or first impression; and it may state additional printing information, or it may provide a printing code indicating what printing a book is from. Each publisher has used various methods over the years to indicate a book's edition and printing. Another common first edition indicator is a book's cover price, which is typically printed on the dust jacket. The presence of a price on a dust jacket is also the most fundamental way to ensure that the dust jacket is not from a book club edition or other type of reprint. Book club editions look similar to genuine first editions, but they are not first editions, and they have very little collectible value.
To find first edition criteria for a specific book, simply type in the name of the book, or the name of the author in the fields above; or browse all of our available entries by clicking on the bars at the bottom of this page. We have pages for hundreds of collectible books where we describe first edition criteria, provide photographs of known first editions, and provide pre-filled eBay, AbeBooks, and Biblio search links for each book so you can quickly establish its most recent market value.
Today's Featured Book: Outlander
June 30, 2008
Outlander was written by Diana Gabaldon. The first edition was published in 1991 by Delacorte Press. It was 627 pages long, and the retail price was $20.00 .
Here are the first edition criteria: Copyright page has full number line "10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1" below "July 1991". Boards are red with gold lettering on a black cloth spine. Dust jacket carries price of $20.00 on the front flap, and there are no reviews anywhere on the dust jacket. Cover art is by Kinuko Y. Craft. Click here for more photos...
June 27, 2008
Slaughterhouse-Five was written by Kurt Vonnegut. The first edition was published in 1969 by Delacorte Press. It was 186 pages long, and the retail price was $5.95 .
Here are the first edition criteria: First Printing is stated on the copyright page. Dust jacket price reads $5.95 on the upper corner of the front flap. Click here for more photos...
June 23, 2008
In Cold Blood was written by Truman Capote. The first edition was published in 1965 by Random House. It was 343 pages long, and the retail price was $5.95 .
Here are the first edition criteria: There were 500 copies of the first edition that were specially bound and signed by Capote.
Below is the first trade edition. "FIRST PRINTING" is stated on the copyright page and no book club mark on back of book. (Note: the book club edition also states first printing, but it has a small debossed square or circle near the bottom next to the spine.) Dust jacket has original price of $5.95 on the top front flap and "1/66" on the bottom front flap. The back dust jacket flap says "Publishers of the American College Dictionary and the Modern Library". Click here for more photos...
June 21, 2008
Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil was written by John Berendt. The first edition was published in 1994 by Random House. It was 388 pages long, and the retail price was $23.00 .
The first edition criteria are as follows: "First Edition" is stated on the copyright page below the number line "2 4 6 8 9 7 5 3". Dark green boards with black cloth spin. Typo "fmr" versus "for" on Page 11, line 32. Dust jacket price is $23.00 and has Ann Beattie blurb at the top of the rear panel.
There was also a deluxe edition published in the same year as the first edition. It was signed by John Berendt, hand numbered, published in a pictorial slipcase rather than a dust jacket, and limited to 2,500 copies. The copyright page says "Limited Edition" below the number line "2 4 6 8 9 7 5 3". Boards are gray cloth.
Click here for more photos...
June 19, 2008
Cities of the Plain was written by Cormac McCarthy. The first edition was published in 1998 by Alfred A. Knopf. It was 292 pages long, and the retail price was $24.00.
First edition criteria: "First Edition" is stated on the copyright page. Boards are black cloth with gold lettering on spine. Reviews on the back dust jacket by Kurt Tidmore and Robert Hass. 1,000 copies were issued with a special signed limitation page tipped in for "friends of the author and publisher".
A limited edition of 300 signed and numbered copies was published at the same time by B.E. Trice Publishing. It has marbled boards with leather spine, and is housed in a cloth slipcase. Click here for more photos...
June 16, 2008
Love in the Time of Cholera (First American) was written by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. The first edition was published in 1988 by Alfred A. Knopf. It was 348 pages long, and the retail price was $18.95 . Love in the Time of Cholera (First American) is an Oprah's Book Club selection.
Here are the first edition criteria: "First American Edition" is stated on the copyright page with no statement of subsequent printings. Boards are black cloth with gold lettering on front and on the spine. There are two issues of the dust jacket, and possibly two states of the first issue jacket. The first issue dust jacket has the front title in yellow letters and has so far been found on first and second printings. The second issue has white letters on the front title and has been found on printings as early as the sixth. There is also said to be a first state of the first issue jacket where the words "a novel by" appears above the author's name on the front. So far we have not been able to verify this first state.
There is also a deluxe version of the First American Edition that was limited to 350 copies. They were printed on special paper, signed by the author on a special hand-numbered page, specially bound, and issued in a slipcase. Click here for more photos...
June 13, 2008
To Have and Have Not was written by Ernest Hemingway. The first edition was published in 1937 by Charles Scribner's Sons. It was 262 pages long, and the retail price was $250.
The first edition criteria are as follows: The first edition has an "A" and the Scribner's seal on the copyright page. Binding is black cloth with gilt lettering on the cover and green blocks on the spine with gilt lettering. Click here for more photos...
Previously Featured Book: Neuromancer
June 11, 2008
Neuromancer was written by William Gibson. The first edition was published in 1984 by Ace Science Fiction. It was 271 pages long, and the retail price was $2.95 .
The first edition criteria are as follows: The first edition of this Nebula Award winner was a paperback published by Ace Science Fiction. The copyright page states Ace Original/July 1984 and ISBN: 0-441-56956-0. Front cover art is by James Warhola.
The first hardcover edition was published in late 1984 by Victor Gollancz in the UK. The first American hardcover edition was published in 1986 by Phantasia Press.
Click here for more photos...
June 09, 2008
Dragon's Teeth was written by Upton Sinclair. The first edition was published in 1942 by Viking. It was 631 pages long, and the retail price was $3.00. Dragon's Teeth won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.
The first edition criteria are as follows: The first printing states "FIRST PUBLISHED IN JANUARY 1942" on the copyright page. There should be no other printing statements. Boards are red cloth with silver lettering and publisher's logo on the front. The first printing of Dragon's Teeth was probably less than 10,000. We base this on a printing statement from A World to Win where it says that by 1946, the total amount printed of Dragon's Teeth including later printings and book club editions was 49,174.
There is also a self-published advance copy. The book itself looks similar to the Viking first printing, but it lacks the Viking logo on the front board, and the title page states "Published by the Author, New York City and Pasadena, California". The advance edition dust jacket lacks the Viking logo on the spine, and states that it is published by the author on the back panel. The advance edition dust jacket also lacks a price on the front flap (see photos).
Click here for more photos...
Previously Featured Book: Tim
June 07, 2008
Tim was written by Colleen McCullough. The first edition was published in 1974 by Harper and Row. It was 248 pages long, and the retail price was $6.95 .
The first edition criteria are as follows: FiRST EDITION is stated on the copyright page and there is a full number line "74 75 76 77 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1" on the last page of the book. Boards are blue with light blue cloth spine. The dust jacket has price of $6.95 in the upper right corner of the front flap, and 0474 at the bottom of the front flap. Back dust jacket panel has a photo of the author above a seven line biography. Author's first book. Click here for more photos...
June 05, 2008
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest was written by Ken Kesey. The first edition was published in 1962 by Viking. It was 311 pages long, and the retail price was $4.95.
The first edition criteria are as follows: "Published in 1962 by The Viking Press" stated on middle of copyright page with no mention of subsequent printings. light green cloth, orange spine lettering, and orange top stain. Contains "that fool Red Cross woman" on page 9, lines 12-13; and "Red Cross woman named Gwen-doe-lin, with the blond hair the patients are always arguing about..." on the top of page 86. Dust Jacket has price of "$4.95" on the upper corner of the front flap and a five-word Jack Kerouac blurb on the bottom of the front flap. Click here for more photos...
Previously Featured Book: His Family
June 03, 2008
His Family was written by Ernest Poole. The first edition was published in 1917 by Macmillan. It was 320 pages long, and the retail price was $1.50. His Family won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.
Here are the first edition criteria: Date on title page and copyright page are both 1917. No other printing statements should be present. The dust jacket is extremely rare and adds most of the value to the book. Larry James Gianakos, who has amassed over the course of 38 years a definitive collection of Pulitzer Prize literature, had this to say about the dust jacket:
"His Family's dust wrapper remains, aside from the obvious Gone With the Wind, The Grapes of Wrath, To Kill a Mockingbird, A Confederacy of Dunces, and The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay, as the most evocative and stunning of all Pulitzer Prize fiction winners. It was designed by E. C. Caswell, whose expressive art work graced the wrappers and included illustrations for many key literary works early in the twentieth century (Edith Wharton among them). Here Caswell depicts the home of protagonist, the widower Roger Gale, whose relationship with his diverse and conflicted three adult daughters forms the nucleus of the story. It is dwarfed by the surrounding tall office buildings and tenement dwellings constituting the Manhattan skyline. It is a full wraparound illustration, and the buildings are gently washed away as the eye proceeds downward toward their foundations. This too is surely by design, indicating that not merely is the Gale home and its nineteenth-century roots vanishing, but so is the way of life of that past century, as the new and quintessentially modern becomes more defined as it relentlessly moves upward, higher toward the sky. This is why Caswell's building images become more defined as they follow upward, and why indeed those building images vanish entirely as the eye follows down toward their former foundations. Indeed, this wrapper may well have been Caswell's masterpiece. It is therefore not merely highly collectible as the first wrapper to grace a Pulitzer Prize for fiction, but as a work of great art in and of itself. Someday soon, this book in proper first printing and with its original wrapper, may rival in value other outstanding works in their first printed and entire form, by writers much more seminal than Ernest Poole. I foresee a time within the next decade that a first printing and original wrapper copy of HIS FAMILY becomes almost as prized as the very best of Wharton, Cather, Fitzgerald, Faulkner, Hemingway, and Steinbeck."
Mr. Gianakos is now partnered with his lifelong friend and attorney Robert P. Safos to bring their collection into national institutionalization and to create a national philanthropic foundation.
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Previously Featured Book: Catch-22
June 02, 2008
Catch-22 was written by Joseph Heller. The first edition was published in 1961 by Simon and Schuster. It was 443 pages long, and the retail price was $5.95 .
The first edition criteria are as follows: FIRST PRINTING is stated on the copyright page. Book is blue cloth with white titles on spine and top edge stained red. Dust jacket has $5.95 price on the bottom of the front flap, and author's picture on the back panel with no blurbs. Click here for more photos...
June 01, 2008
Out of Africa was written by Isak Dinesen. The first edition was published in 1938 by Random House. It was 389 pages long, and the retail price was $2.75.
Here are the first edition criteria: Below is the first American edition. It states "First Edition" on the copyright page. Book is rust-colored cloth with flamingo on the front and black spine. The dust jacket carries a price of $2.75 on the upper corner of the front flap. The generally accepted first American dust jacket back features "A Noteable List of Recent and Forthcoming RANDOM HOUSE FICTION". It lists nine books beginning with Count Belisarius by Robert Graves. There is also a possible variant that lists ten books beginning with Salute To Yesterday by Gene Fowler. Click here for more photos...
This website is intended to help guide you and give you insight into what to look for when identifying first editions. As such, the information presented here may not always be 100% accurate. Gathering and updating information about these books is more an art than a science, so some of our first edition points may be wrong. If you spot a mistake, drop us an e-mail and we will do our best to investigate and fix it.