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.
November 29, 2008
Men Without Women was written by Ernest Hemingway. The first edition was published in 1927 by Charles Scribner's Sons. It was 232 pages long, and the retail price was $2.00.
Here are the first edition criteria: Title page states 1927 on the bottom. The copyright page has a Scribner's colophon, but it is not a first edition point because later printings have it as well. The copyright page does not have an "A" on the copyright page because Scribner's did not start that practice until the 1930's. The book is bound in black cloth with gold labels on the front and spine. The first issue of the book has a perfect page number on page 3. The second issue has a slightly damaged "3" that can be found on later printings as well. The dust jacket front lacks review blurbs. Click here for more photos...
November 23, 2008
Years of Grace was written by Margaret Ayer Barnes. The first edition was published in 1930 by Houghton Mifflin Company. It was 581 pages long, and the retail price was $2.50. Years of Grace won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.
First edition criteria: The title page date must match the copyright date (1930). No statement of printing on the copyright page. Dust jacket is extremely rare and adds most of the value to the book. The dust jacket lacks any statement of printing on the front. It also lacks reviews, but it has a description of the book on the bottom that begins with "She fought the battle of the generations..." The back of the dust jacket has a list of new novels from the publisher, and the first book listed on the left column is YEARS OF GRACE. On later printings was moved to the right column. Click here for more photos...
November 21, 2008
Shadow Country was written by Peter Matthiessen. The first edition was published in 2008 by Modern Library. It was 892 pages long, and the retail price was $40.00. Shadow Country won the National Book Award.
The first edition criteria are as follows: Copyright page has full number line "2 4 6 8 9 7 5 3 1". Binding is gray cloth with gold lettering. Front DJ flap has a blurb by Don DeLillo. The dust jacket back has eight quotes on the back beginning with quotes by Richard Ford, Annie Dillard, Saul Bellow, and Joyce Carol Oates. The first edition was published by The Modern Library, which is unusual for this reprint publisher. Click here for more photos...
November 18, 2008
Leaving Las Vegas was written by John O'Brien. The first edition was published in 1990 by Watermark Press. It was 189 pages long, and the retail price was $19.50.
Here are the first edition criteria: First Edition is stated on the copyright page with no references to subsequent printings below it. Boards are black cloth with silver lettering on the spine. The back page following all first and second printings has a bio of the author that describes John O'Brien as married happily and living in Los Angeles. The first issue dust jacket has the same bio on the back flap describing the author living in Los Angeles.
On third and later printings, the bio page describes O'Brien as living "most of his life in California until his death in 1994". A second state dust jacket has the same bio text changes on the back flap mentioning the author's death. This second state dust jacket began to appear on some, but not all, third printing books.
Photos courtesy of Dan Baranow.
John O'Brien committed suicide while the Mike Figgis film adaptation was in production. The film stared starring Nicolas Cage and Elisabeth Shue, and was released in 1995. Click here for more photos...
November 11, 2008
If He Hollers Let Him Go was written by Chester B. Himes. The first edition was published in 1945 by Doubleday, Doran and Company. It was 249 pages long, and the retail price was $2.50.
Here are the first edition criteria: FIRST EDITION is stated on the copyright page. Binding is black cloth with yellow lettering on the spine. Reviews for four other Doubleday books are on the back of the dust jacket. Photos courtesy of Dan Baranow. Click here for more photos...
November 05, 2008
The Risk Pool was written by Richard Russo. The first edition was published in 1988 by Random House. It was 479 pages long, and the retail price was $19.95.
Here are the first edition criteria: First Edition is stated below Random House number line "23456789". Boards are light beige with author's initials in blue lettering on the front, and cloth spine with silver letting. Dust jacket has photo of author on the back with blurb by Pat Conroy on the top right corner and bar codes on the bottom right corner. Click here for more photos...
November 04, 2008
In the Garden of the North American Martyrs was written by Tobias Wolff. The first edition was published in 1981 by Ecco Press. It was 175 pages long, and the retail price was $14.95.
The first edition criteria are as follows: FIRST EDITION is stated on copyright page with no references to subsequent printings. Bound in light beige cloth with copper lettering on the spine. Back of dust jacket has two reviews. A price change was presumably made by the publisher before the book was distributed. The orginal price was supposed to be $14.95, but the front flaps of all copies we have seen are clipped at the corner and have round price stickers (or sticker remains) near the clip. The ISBN (0-912946-82-2) is on the bottom of the front flap. Click here for more photos...
Previously Featured Book: Mohawk
November 03, 2008
Mohawk was written by Richard Russo. The first edition was published in 1986 by Vintage Contemporaries. It was 418 pages long, and the retail price was $6.95.
Here are the first edition criteria: The first edition is a softcover. FIRST EDITION is stated on the copyright page. There are two variations of the first edition. Variation 1 has a blurb by John Irving on the front cover, three blurbs on the back, and the page after page 418 is blank. Variation 2 has a blurb by The New York Times on the front cover, four blurbs on the back, and the page after page 418 contains other Vintage Contemporary titles on the recto and verso and includes a order blank that can be cut out and mailed in.
Photos and variant information courtesy of Dan Baranow. Click here for more photos...
November 02, 2008
How to Win Friends and Influence People was written by Dale Carnegie. The first edition was published in 1936 by Simon and Schuster. It was 337 pages long, and the retail price was $2.00.
The first edition criteria are as follows: Date on the bottom of title page matches the 1936 copyright page date. The copyright page has no other dates and no references to additional printings or editions. Boards are red cloth. The front of the dust jacket lacks references to amount of copies printed and has a large photo of the author that shows 3/4 of his face. The back of the dust jacket has a list of the "12 THINGS THIS BOOK WILL DO FOR YOU" and a photo and testimonial from Lowell Thomas with the headline "WHAT I THINK OF DALE CARNEGIE". The back dust jacket flap has the $2.00 price on the bottom, which is typical for Simon and Schuster books in the late 1930's. The text on the front dust jacket flap is identical to that of later printings with two exceptions - there is a reference in the second paragraph that was changed from "Chicago University" to "The University of Chicago", and all paragraphs except for the second were changed to bold face. These flap changes were made at some point in 1937 after the eighth printing.
Only 3,000 copies of the first printing were produced. Photos are courtesy of jdinvestments on Ebay. Click here for more photos...
November 01, 2008
The Barracks Thief was written by Tobias Wolff. The first edition was published in 1984 by Ecco Press. It was 101 pages long, and the retail price was $12.50.
The first edition criteria are as follows: FIRST EDITION is stated on copyright page with no references to subsequent printings. Boards are red with red lettering on a black cloth spine. Back of dust jacket has four reviews for In The Garden of the North American Martyrs. The reviews are from Raymond Carver, Joyce Carol Oates, The New York Times Book Review, and the San Francisco Review of Books. 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.