Today is the birthday of Pulitzer Prize winning author, Jane Smiley. She was born in 1949.
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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.
January 29, 2009
The Annunciation was written by Ellen Gilchrist. The first edition was published in 1983 by Little, Brown and Company. It was 353 pages long, and the retail price was $14.95.
Here are the first edition criteria: FIRST EDITION is stated on copyright page with no references to subsequent printings. Boards are green with brown spine and gold lettering. Back of dust jacket has no reviews. Click here for more photos...
January 27, 2009
A Confederacy of Dunces was written by John Kennedy Toole. The first edition was published in 1980 by Louisiana State University Press. It was 338 pages long, and the retail price was $12.95. A Confederacy of Dunces won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.
The first edition criteria are as follows: First edition is NOT stated. It should have matching dates of 1980 on the title page and the copyright page. The Copyright page should have no references to a second, third, or other printings. First issue of the dust jacket has Walker Percy's blurb on the rear with no other blurbs.
John Kennedy Toole wrote the book in the 1960's. He committed suicide in 1969 without seeing the book published. His mother went to many publishers in an attempt to have the book published. She finally got Walker Percy to read the manuscript, and Percy convinced the Louisiana State University press to publish it in 1980. Only 2,500 copies of the first printing were produced.
Click here for more photos...
January 26, 2009
The Beet Queen was written by Louise Erdrich. The first edition was published in 1986 by Henry Holt and Company. It was 338 pages long, and the retail price was $16.95.
First edition criteria: Copyright page states FIRST EDITION and full number line "10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1". Boards are white with green cloth spine and gold lettering. Click here for more photos...
January 25, 2009
The Short Reign of Pippin IV was written by John Steinbeck. The first edition was published in 1957 by Viking Press. It was 188 pages long, and the retail price was $3.00.
Here are the first edition criteria: Copyright page states "FIRST PUBLISHED IN 1957" and printed "BY AMERICAN BOOK-STRATFORD PRESS, INC. NEW YORK". Boards are red cloth with embossed design and diamond pattern, and a cloth spine. The true first edition lacks a book club blind stamp on the bottom right corner of the back board. Back dust jacket flap has reviews and listings of other Steinbeck titles.
The book club edition lacks the Stratford Press statement on the copyright page and has an blind stamp on the bottom corner of the back board. The book club dust jacket lacks a price and the back flap is blank. Click here for more photos...
January 22, 2009
The Story of Edgar Sawtelle was written by David Wroblewski. The first edition was published in 2008 by Ecco Press. It was 566 pages long, and the retail price was $25.95. The Story of Edgar Sawtelle is an Oprah's Book Club selection.
The first edition criteria are as follows: Copyright page has ISBN 978-0-06-137422-7 and full number line "10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1". The boards are textured cream with beige and red metallic lettering. The front of the dust jacket lacks "NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER" blurb. The back of dust jacket has ISBN 978-0-06-137422-7, which matches the ISBN on the copyright page. The dust jacket is made of textured paper that is most noticeable when looking at the reverse and on the front flap. The back of the dust jacket has reviews by Stephen King, Richard Russo, Mark Doty, Margot Livesey, and Dalia Sofer. The first printing was said to comprise 26,000 copies.
Warning: there is an Oprah version of this book that looks similar to the true first edition, but has several distinguishing points. The most noticeable is that the Oprah version says "NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER" across the top of the front dust jacket. The Oprah version also has a different ISBN (978-0-06-176806-4), which can be found on both the copyright page and the back of the dust jacket. The new ISBN was created to ensure accurate tracking of sales. Please see the comparison photos on the bottom. Click here for more photos...
January 12, 2009
The Plague of Doves was written by Louise Erdrich. The first edition was published in 2008 by Harper Collins. It was 314 pages long, and the retail price was $25.95.
Here are the first edition criteria: FIRST EDITION is stated on copyright page with number line "08 09 10 11 12" and "10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1". Boards are greenish-brown with beige threaded paper spine and red lettering. Back of dust jacket has praise by Philip Roth, Publishers Weekly, Booklist, Wall Street Journal, New Yorker, Anne Tyler, and Chicago Magazine. The back flap has a photo of the author. Click here for more photos...
January 10, 2009
Word of Honor was written by Nelson DeMille. The first edition was published in 1985 by Warner Books. It was 518 pages long, and the retail price was $17.50.
The first edition criteria are as follows: Copyright page states "First Printing November 1985" above ful number line "10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1", and lacks any reference to Book-of-the-Month. End papers are dark yellow. Top of front dust jacket flap has $17.50 price, and the bottom has "1185".
Warning: The Book Club Edition also states "First Printing November 1985" with full number line, but the copyright page has a sort of odd statement/advertisement that says "Book-of-Month Records offers a wide range of opera, classical and jazz recordings...". The Book Club Edition also has a stamp on the bottom right corner of the back boards, and the end papers are white. Photos courtesy of Dan Baranow. 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.