A Frolic of His Own was the 1994 National Book Award winner.
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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: Property Of
July 31, 2008
Property Of was written by Alice Hoffman. The first edition was published in 1977 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux. It was 247 pages long, and the retail price was $8.95.
The first edition criteria are as follows: "First edition, 1977" is stated on the copyright page with no references to subsequent printings. Boards are dark gray with black cloth spine. Dust jacket has two reviews on back panel and photo of the author on the back flap. The bright yellow front of the dust jacket is susceptible to fading. Click here for more photos...
July 30, 2008
The Gardener's Son was written by Cormac McCarthy. The first edition was published in 1996 by Ecco Press. It was 93 pages long, and the retail price was $22.00.
The first edition criteria are as follows: "First Edition" is stated on the copyright page below number line "9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1". Boards are brick red with silver lettering on spine. 350 copies of the first edition were issued with a special signed limitation page tipped in, and were published as "boxed copies" in slipcases instead of dust jackets. Click here for more photos...
July 21, 2008
The Mysteries of Pittsburgh was written by Michael Chabon. The first edition was published in 1988 by Morrow. It was 297 pages long, and the retail price was $16.95.
The first edition criteria are as follows: First Edition is stated above full number line "1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10" on the copyright page. Boards are white with purple cloth spine and silver lettering. Their is a typographical error on page 280, line 21 where it says "gone to far" rather than "gone too far". It is not however a first edition points because the same error has been discovered on the second printing as well. Click here for more photos...
July 18, 2008
The Book of Daniel was written by E.L. Doctorow. The first edition was published in 1971 by Random House. It was 303 pages long, and the retail price was $6.95.
Here are the first edition criteria: The copyright pages states "First Edition" below Random House line number "9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2". Brown cloth binding with red lettering on the spine. Photo of author on the back of dust jacket with ISBN on the bottom right and photo credit on the bottom left. Click here for more photos...
Previously Featured Book: Sula
July 16, 2008
Sula was written by Toni Morrison. The first edition was published in 1974 by Alfred A. Knopf. It was 174 pages long, and the retail price was $5.95. Sula is an Oprah's Book Club selection.
Here are the first edition criteria: "First Edition" is stated on the copyright page with no references to subsequent printings. Title page states 1974. Boards are orange-red cloth with gold lettering. Dust Jacket back flap has photo of author with a biography that mentions only The Bluest Eye as her other work, and has "1/74" on the lower left corner. The back panel has five reviews for The Bluest Eye and the ISBN on the lower right corner. Click here for more photos...
Previously Featured Book: Suttree
July 14, 2008
Suttree was written by Cormac McCarthy. The first edition was published in 1979 by Random House. It was 471 pages long, and the retail price was $12.95.
First edition criteria: First Edition is stated below Random House number line "24689753". Board are white with black cloth spine. Author's initials on front of boards in gold. Spine lettering is also gold. Dust jacket has photo of author on the back with photo credit on the bottom left, and ISBN on the bottom right. No reviews on dust jacket. Click here for more photos...
July 09, 2008
The Book of Ruth was written by Jane Hamilton. The first edition was published in 1988 by Ticknor & Fields. It was 328 pages long, and the retail price was $18.95. The Book of Ruth is an Oprah's Book Club selection.
Here are the first edition criteria: Copyright page has full number line "P 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1". Boards are blue with red metallic lettering on a black cloth spine. Back of dust jacket has two reviews: by Hilma Wolitzer and Shirley Abbott. There are copies on the market with a stamp on the bottom pages that says "NETWORK - NOT FOR RESALE". These are promotional copies that were distributed by the publisher to its network of booksellers. Click here for more photos...
July 08, 2008
Rosemary's Baby was written by Ira Levin. The first edition was published in 1967 by Random House. It was 245 pages long, and the retail price was $4.95 .
Here are the first edition criteria: FIRST PRINTING is stated on the copyright page with no references to subsequent printings. Boards are pink with author's initials on the front in a darker metalic pink. Spine is black cloth with silver lettering. Book has dark blue top stain. Dust jacket has a review by Truman Capote on the front, and "4/67" on the bottom of the front flap. Click here for more photos...
Previously Featured Book: The Names
July 07, 2008
The Names was written by Don DeLillo. The first edition was published in 1982 by Alfred A. Knopf. It was 339 pages long, and the retail price was $13.95.
The first edition criteria are as follows: FIRST EDITION is stated on copyright page with no references to subsequent printings. Boards are tan with cream colored cloth spine. Photo of author on back of dust jacket and no reviews. Click here for more photos...
Previously Featured Book: J R
July 04, 2008
J R was written by William Gaddis. The first edition was published in 1975 by Alfred A. Knopf. It was 726 pages long, and the retail price was $15.00. J R won the National Book Award.
First edition criteria: FIRST EDITION is stated on the copyright page with no references to subsequent printings. The hard cover and softcover were issued simultaneously, but the hardcover is less common. The book club edition also states FIRST EDITION, but it has a blindstamp on the lower right corner of the rear board below the Borzoi dog blindstamp. Note: Most booksellers list this book on eBay and AbeBooks as "JR" rather than "J R". Click here for more photos...
July 03, 2008
The Double Helix was written by James Watson. The first edition was published in 1968 by Atheneum. It was 226 pages long, and the retail price was $5.95 .
Here are the first edition criteria: First Edition is stated on the copyright page. Dust Jacket back has photo of the author in Paris with reviews below. "ILLUSTRATED $5.95" is on the upper corner of the front flap. Click here for more photos...
July 02, 2008
Cold Mountain was written by Charles Frazier. The first edition was published in 1997 by Atlantic Monthly Press. It was 356 pages long, and the retail price was $24 . Cold Mountain won the National Book Award.
The first edition criteria are as follows: "FIRST EDITION" is stated on the center of the copyright page with full number line "10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1" on the bottom. The first printing has misprint on p. 25, line 16 ("man-woman" instead of "madwoman"). The misprint has been observed on second and third printings and is therefore believed to be on all first printings. The back of the first issue dust jacket has 4 reviews - by Kaye Gibbons, Rick Bass, Ann Beattie and Willie Morris. A sticker with a review by John Berendt was attached to the front panel of some first issue jackets, but it is not considered an issue point because some copies had this affixed on publication day, while others did not. The Berendt review was eventually added as a fifth review to the back of dust jackets issued with books around 16th printing.
A signed limited edition of 500 copies was also issued, but the copyright page on these books specifically states "LIMITED EDITION" rather than "FIRST EDITION".
Note: there is a book club edition that states FIRST EDITION. but it lacks a number line, and the typo is fixed.
Click here for more photos...
July 01, 2008
The World According to Garp was written by John Irving. The first edition was published in 1978 by Dutton. It was 437 pages long, and the retail price was $10.95 . The World According to Garp won the National Book Award.
Here are the first edition criteria: FIRST EDITION is stated below the number line 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 on the copyright page. Boards are gold with navy cloth spine and gold lettering. The dust jacket carries a price of $10.95 on the front flap. The back of the dust jacket has a photo of the author above a short bio in the center, ISBN:0-525-23770-4 on the bottom left, and 0478 on the bottom right.
The 0478 on the bottom right of the dust jacket back is sometimes mentioned as a first edition point, but it is found on later printing jackets as well. Later printing dust jackets are however about an eight of an inch shorter than the first printing jacket. Please refer to the last photo on this page for more details.
Note: Some have asked why there are copyright dates from 1976 and 1977 on the copyright page if the first edition wasn't published until 1978. The answer is that portions of the book appeared in magazines in 1976 and 1977 before the entire book was published in 1978. This is a common practice to note years where portions of a book were previously published. The 1951 first edition of The Catcher in the Rye, for example, states 1945 and 1946 on the copyright page because portions were previously published in The New Yorker. 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.