"There was no difference between the behavior of a god and the operations of pure chance."
Click here to see first edition criteria for all First American Editions in the Harry Potter series
Click here to see first edition criteria for Classic Science Books
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.
April 29, 2010
All the King's Men was written by Robert Penn Warren. The first edition was published in 1946 by Harcourt Brace and Company. It was 464 pages long, and the retail price was $3.00. All the King's Men won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.
First edition criteria: "first edition" is stated on copyright page. Boards are maroon. 1st state dustjacket has Sinclair Lewis blurb on the back, and the corners of the flaps are clipped (not price clipped).
A less expensive alternative is the signed Franklin Library edition. Click here for more photos...
April 20, 2010
Rabbit is Rich was written by John Updike. The first edition was published in 1981 by Alfred A. Knopf. It was 467 pages long, and the retail price was $13.95. Rabbit is Rich won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and the National Book Award.
Here are the first edition criteria: FIRST EDITION is stated on the copyright page. 1981 is listed on the title page.
350 copies of the first edition were printed on special paper and were specially bound in gray cloth. Each of these were signed and numbered. These editions also have a gold dust jacket and were issued in a slip case.
The binding on the rest of the first editions is yellow cloth with gold and silver lettering and red top stain. The dust jacket is black with a Susan B. Anthony dollar and a rainbow on the front. Back of dust jacket has five reviews altogether. The first three reviews are by Mary McCarthy, Norman Mailer, and Angus Wilson for Rabbit, Run. The last two reviews are by Brendan Gill and Richard Locke for Rabbit Redux. Click here for more photos...
April 15, 2010
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows was written by J.K. Rowling. The first edition was published in 2007 by Bloomsbury. It was 607 pages long, and the retail price was £17.99.
Here are the first edition criteria: "First published in Great Britain in 2007 by Bloomsbury Publishing Plc" is stated on the copyright page toward the top, and "First Edition" is stated near the bottom. The boards are illustrated to match the dust jacket. Click here for more photos...
April 14, 2010
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince was written by J.K. Rowling. The first edition was published in 2005 by Bloomsbury. It was 607 pages long, and the retail price was £16.99.
The first edition criteria are as follows: "First published in Great Britain in 2005" is stated on the copyright page toward the top, and "First Edition" is stated near the bottom. The boards are illustrated to match the dust jacket. Click here for more photos...
Previously Featured Book: Tinkers
April 12, 2010
Tinkers was written by Paul Harding. The first edition was published in 2009 by Bellevue Literary Press. It was 191 pages long, and the retail price was $25.00. Tinkers won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.
Here are the first edition criteria: The publisher has confirmed that there were softcover and hardcover first editions that were published simultaneously. There were approximately 3,500 softcover copies in the first printing, and probably 1,250 hardcovers. Book Passage Bookstore orderd 250 hardcovers for their first edition club members from a printing that they believed to be 500 copies. The other 250 of these copies were likely distributed to other book stores in the west coast. There was also another issue of the hardcover produced for Powell's Books. The Powell's hardcovers were issued with a special numbered page as part of their "Indiespensable" subscribers series. The special page indicates that there were 750 of these books printed. It is not at all clear which hardcover issue preceeds the other. The publisher maintains that they all were published at the same time; and this is supported by the fact that the copyright page number lines are identical on both issues.
The copyright page on the softcover is also identical to that of the hardcover. FIRST EDITION is stated above a full number line "1 3 5 7 9 8 6 4 2", and below two ISBNs - one for the softcover (978-1-934137-12-3 pbk) and one for the hardcover (978-1-934137-19-2 hc). There are four reviews on the back of both editions - by Marilynne Robinson, Barry Unsworth, Elizabeth McCracken, and Publishers Weekly. The front of the softcover repeats the first four words of the Marilynne Robinson review. The front of the hardcover lacks this tout. The price on the hardcover dust jacket it $25.00. There should be no mention of the Pulitzer Prize anywhere on the first editions.
Caution: We have now seen what appears to be print-on-demand softcover editions sold by Amazon. These also state FIRST EDITION and they have a complete number line. However it appears that they are using the copyright page from the Advance Reader's Copy which states that it was first published in 2008 on the top, lacks the hardcover ISBN near the bottom, and is missing a statement of support by the Lucius N. Littauer Foundation in the middle. These print-on-demand edtions state "WINNER of the PULTIZER PRIZE" on the front cover, and state the exact date they were printed on the last page. Click here for more photos...
Previously Featured Book: A Lost Lady
April 05, 2010
A Lost Lady was written by Willa Cather. The first edition was published in 1923 by Alfred A. Knopf. It was 174 pages long.
Here are the first edition criteria: The first edition consisted of 20 copies on "Borzoi all rag paper signed by the author and numbered A to T"; 200 copies on "Borzoi all rag paper signed by the author and numbered 1 to 200"; and 20,000 first trade editions on "English featherweight paper."
Below is the first trade edition which states "Published September, 1923" on the copyright page with no statements of subsequent printings. Binding is light green cloth with title in gold script on the front, the title above the author name on the spine, patterned endpapers in green and pink, purple top stain, and title page printed in black and green. The green dust jacket has no price. It has reviews for One of Ours on the front flap, reviews for Youth and the Bright Medusa on the back flap, and a description of A Lost Lady on the back panel.
There are at least three states of the first trade edition often referred to as States A, B, and C. State A is the first issue and it is distinguished by textual points on pages 157, 163, 164, 171, 173, and 174. Descriptions can be found below in the photo section of this page. 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.