"I am invisible, understand, simply because people refuse to see me." - Ralph Ellison
Click here to see first edition criteria for all First American Editions in the Harry Potter series
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Click here to see first edition criteria for National Book Award winners
Click here to see first edition criteria for Oprah Book Club Selections
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.
December 30, 2008
The Late George Apley was written by John Phillips Marquand. The first edition was published in 1937 by Little, Brown. It was 354 pages long, and the retail price was $2.50. The Late George Apley won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.
Here are the first edition criteria: "Published January, 1937" is stated on the copyright page with no other printing statements. The top edge of pages are stained red. "Lovely Pearl" instead of "Pretty Pearl" on line 1 of page 19. Click here for more photos...
December 29, 2008
A Bell For Adano was written by John Hersey. The first edition was published in 1944 by Alfred A. Knopf. It was 269 pages long, and the retail price was $2.50. A Bell For Adano won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.
The first edition criteria are as follows: "First Edition" is stated, with no other references to printing. The first printing has olive cloth with large picture of italian buildings. Click here for more photos...
December 27, 2008
Telex from Cuba was written by Rachel Kushner. The first edition was published in 2008 by Scribners. It was 322 pages long, and the retail price was $25.00.
The first edition criteria are as follows: Copyright page has full number line "1 3 5 7 9 10 8 6 4 2". Boards are cream with brick-red/orange cloth spine and gold lettering. Dust jacket has five reviews on the back - by Paula Fox, Oscar Hijuelos, Lynne Tillman, Lisa Fugaro, and Heidi Julavits. Click here for more photos...
December 21, 2008
Killing Mister Watson was written by Peter Matthiessen. The first edition was published in 1990 by Random House. It was 372 pages long, and the retail price was $21.95.
Here are the first edition criteria: First Edition is stated below Random House number line "24689753". Board are hunter green with black cloth spine. Author's initials on front of boards in gold. Spine lettering is also gold. Back dust jacket flap has photo of author. Back dust jacket panel has four reviews by William Styron, The New York Times, Jim Harrison, and Don DeLillo.
This book is the first in a trio that includes Lost Man's River and Bone by Bone. The three books were later reworked and published as Shadow Country, which won the 2008 National Book Award for Fiction. Click here for more photos...
December 20, 2008
The Ungrateful Garden was written by Carolyn Kizer. The first edition was published in 1961 by Indiana University Press. It was 84 pages long, and the retail price was $3.50.
First edition criteria: Copyright says 1961 with no statement of subsquent printings. Back of dust jacket has photo of the author, and the back flap has advertisements for the poetry of David Wagoner. The dust jacket spine is susceptible to sunning. Binding is black cloth with metallic red lettering. Photos courtesy of Dan Baranow. Click here for more photos...
Previously Featured Book: Paragon Walk
December 12, 2008
Paragon Walk was written by Anne Perry. The first edition was published in 1981 by St. Martin's Press. It was 204 pages long, and the retail price was $9.95.
Here are the first edition criteria: First Edition is stated below full number line "10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1" on copyright page. Binding is brown cloth with gold lettering on spine. Back dust jacket flap has photo of the author. Back of the dust has four reviews - two for Cater Street Hangman, and two for Callander Square. Photos courtesy of Dan Baranow. Click here for more photos...
Previously Featured Book: Wicked
December 04, 2008
Wicked was written by Gregory Maguire. The first edition was published in 1995 by Regan Books
. It was 406 pages long, and the retail price was $24.00.
The first edition criteria are as follows: FIRST EDITION is stated the copyright page with full number line "10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1" on the bottom. Boards are illustrated, and can be partially seen throught a die-cut hole on the front of the dust jacket. Front of the dust jacket has no reviews. The back of the dust jacket has four reviews - by Wally Lamb, Jane Langton, Lloyd Alexander, and Kirkus Reviews. 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.