The copyright page has the full number line "1 3 5 7 9 10 8 6 4 2     8 9/9 0/0 01 02". Below the number line is "Printed in the U.S.A. 23", and below that is "First American edition, October 1998." Boards are purple with an embossed diamond pattern, and a red cloth spine. The dust jacket has a $16.95 price on the upper corner of the front flap. The dust jacket back has a cream/light yellow bar code field with two bar codes in it, and the smaller bar code says "51695". The dust jacket back also has a single quote from the Guardian saying "Harry Potter could assume the near-legendary status of Ronald Dahl's Charlie, of chocolate factory fame." Later issue dust jackets have a substitute quote from Publishers Weekly. The top spine of both the book and the dust jacket lists "J.K. ROWLING" and lacks the "YEAR 1" badge, and the gold lettering is raised on the spine of the dust jacket.
Note: There are book club editions that have the same full number line as the true first U.S. edition. But they lack the embossed diamond pattern on the book boards. A book club edition is far less valuable than the true first U.S. edition.
Picture of the 1998 first edition dust jacket for Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (U.S.).
Picture of the first edition copyright page for Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (U.S.).
Picture of dust jacket where original $16.95 price is found for Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (U.S.).
Picture of the back dust jacket for the first edition of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (U.S.).
Boards are purple with an embossed diamond pattern, and a red spine. The book club edition has plain boards which lack the embossed diamond pattern.
On the back of the dust jacket, there is a single quote on the top from the Guardian in London saying "Harry Potter could assume the near-legendary status of Ronald Dahl's Charlie, of chocolate factory fame." On the bottom left there is a cream/light yellow bar code field with two bar codes in it, and the smaller bar code says "51695".
The true first edition dust jacket has "J.K." on the spine.
The true first edition dust jacket has "J.K." on the spine like the one on the right. The "J.K." was removed in early printings like the one in the middle. "Year 1" was added to later printings like the one on the left.
These are the bar codes from (top to bottom) the first printing, the 11th printing, the 21st printing, and the 39th printing. The bar code is the same until the price is changed somewhere between the 11th and 21st printings. The bar code background and price is changed in much later printings.
This is the front cover of the Advance Reader's Edition, which is a softcover.
This is the copyright page from the Advance Reader's Edition. It is slightly different than the first edition. It states the text copyright as 1998 rather than 1997, and Bloomsbury for permissions rather than Scholastic. It also lists the ISBN for the paperback edition (0-590-35342-X).
This is the back of the Advance Reader's Edition. It states that the first printing will be 30,000 copies.
This is the spine of the Advance Reader's Edition. It has "J.K. ROWLING" just as the first edition does.
This is the table of contents from the Advance Reader's Edition. The page numbers have not been set.
The Advance Reader's Edition included a note from the publisher, Arthur A. Levine, who makes a very insightful prediction: "I predict you'll also face another quandary; whether to share this [book] with a friend, or to keep it for yourself, knowing how much this Reader's Edition of J.K. Rowling's first book will be worth in years to come."
Some of the sixth printings had plain boards (on the top) instead of the normal embossed diamond pattern (underneath).
Disclaimer: This website is intended to help guide you and give you insight into what to look for when identifying first editions. The information is compiled from the experience of reputable collectors and dealers in the industry. Gathering and updating information about these books is more an art than a science, and new identication criteria and points of issue are sometimes discovered that may contradict currently accepted identification points. This means that the information presented here may not always be 100% accurate.