Molecular Biologist James D. Watson was born on this day in 1928.
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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.
August 31, 2009
With Blood and Iron was written by Douglas Reeman. The first edition was published in 1964 by Jarrolds. It was 288 pages long, and the retail price was 21s net.
Here are the first edition criteria: "First published 1964" is stated on the copyright page with no references to subsequent printings. Boards are blue cloths with white lettering on spine. Back of dust jacket has no text. Click here for more photos...
August 27, 2009
The Bear Comes Home was written by Rafi Zabor. The first edition was published in 1997 by Norton & Company. It was 480 pages long, and the retail price was $25.00.
The first edition criteria are as follows: The copyright page has full number line "1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0". The boards are orange with black spine and silver lettering. Three reviews on the back of the dust jacket by Josef Skvorecky, Mike Zwerin, and Pat Metheny. Photo of the author on the back dust jacket flap above a short bio that simply says "Rafi Zabor is a music journalist and occasional jazz drummer. He lives in Brooklyn, New York." First published in July, 1997. Click here for more photos...
August 26, 2009
Stuart Little was written by E.B. White. The first edition was published in 1945 by Harper & Brothers. It was 131 pages long, and the retail price was $2.00.
Here are the first edition criteria: "FIRST EDITION" is stated on the copyright page. Boards are beige pictorial cloth with a green and white illustration of Stuart pulling a rope. Title on the cover is in white, and the other lettering is in green. Illustration and lettering on spine is similiarly set in green and white.
The dust jacket has a $2.00 price on the top of the front flap, and "Harper & Brothers, Publishers" on the bottom of the same flap. The price is the relevant first edition point, and the presence of "Harper & Brothers, Publishers" is not a true point because it is found on all jackets with the $2.00 price and even on jackets with an increased $2.25 price. It is also worth while to note that the same $2.00 priced jacket was produced as late as the fifth printing. However, we suspect that later printing jackets might be 1/16 inch shorter than the first printing jackets. The jacket should be the exact same size as the book.
Click here for more photos...
August 23, 2009
Love Among the Cannibals was written by Wright Morris. The first edition was published in 1957 by Harcourt, Brace, and Company. It was 253 pages long, and the retail price was $3.50.
The first edition criteria are as follows: First edition is stated on the copyright page. Boards are marbled blue with silver lettering on gray cloth spine. Back of dust jacket has photo of the author with no reviews. There are however reviews on the back just jacket flap. Click here for more photos...
August 08, 2009
At Weddings and Wakes was written by Alice McDermott. The first edition was published in 1992 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux. It was 213 pages long, and the retail price was $19.00.
Here are the first edition criteria: First edition, 1992 is stated on the copyright page with no references to subsequent printings. Boards are textured off-white with red cloth spine and gold lettering. Back of dust jacket has four reviews for That Night. Back dust jacket flap has photo of the author with a bio that refers only to her two novels prior to this one. Click here for more photos...
Previously Featured Book: The City Boy
August 04, 2009
The City Boy was written by Herman Wouk. The first edition was published in 1948 by Simon and Schuster. It was 306 pages long, and the retail price was $2.95.
The first edition criteria are as follows: Copyright page has 7 lines of text on the top, including a line that says "COPYRIGHT, 1948, BY HERMAN WOUK". Copyright page also has two lines of text on the bottom stating that the book was manufactured by "AMERICAN BOOK-STRATFORD PRESS, INC., NEW YORK". There are no dates other than 1948, and no references to subsequent printings. Binding is red with author's initials in gold on the front. The spine has title, author, and publisher in gold, with the title printed over a black rectangular box. Photo of the author on the back of the dust jacket above a brief bio.
There has been a question whether this book is called "The City Boy" or just plain "City Boy". The short answer is that it was originally published as "The City Boy", but was truncated 21 years later to "City Boy".
To provide a bit more detail: The title page on the first edition states the full name as "The City Boy", with the subtitle: "The Adventures of Herbie Bookbinder and His Cousin, Cliff". Subsequent printings of the book retained "The" in the "The City Boy" until 1969 when a Twentieth Anniversary Edition was issued. From that point forward it was simply called "City Boy" and the subtitle was shortened to "The Adventures of Herbie Bookbinder". It is also interesting to note that the Twentieth Anniversary Edition was actually published 21 years after the orginal 1948 publication.
The way the book is referenced in The Caine Mutiny suggests that there was some early rethinking (or conflicting opinions) about whether the book title should have been shortened to "City Boy". Early printings of The Caine Mutiny refer to "The City Boy" in the book, but use simply "City Boy" on the back dust jacket flap. However the back panelof The Caine Mutiny first issue dust jacket had "The City Boy", which was quickly changed to "City Boy" in alignment with the back flap.
Also, in a preface to a 2004 edition of City Boy, the author states that "City Boy, my second novel, was published in 1948." He then continues, "...my working title for City Boy was Tom of the Bronx". This suggests to us that he thought of the book as the shorter "City Boy", and that leads us to speculate that the author might have originally wanted the book to be called "City Boy", but the publisher called it "The City Boy". The idea of siting "The City Boy" in The Caine Mutiny book and "City Boy" on its accompanying dust jacket may have been a compromise to address this possible conflict. Click here for more photos...
Previously Featured Book: The Children
August 01, 2009
The Children was written by Nina Fedorova. The first edition was published in 1942 by Little, Brown and Company. It was 386 pages long, and the retail price was $2.50.
Here are the first edition criteria: "FIRST EDITION" is stated on copyright page above "First Published 1942". Boards are green. There seems to be two states: one with gold lettering and one with pink lettering. We do not know if one has priority over the other. Back dust jacket flap has a review of Breakfast with the Nikolides by Rummer Godden. Back of dust jacket has reviews for The Family and a review of The Children. 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.