The first edition of Go Set a Watchman was published simultaneously in the United States by HarperCollins and in the United Kingdom by William Heinemann (a division of Random House). The US first edition criteria is listed as a separate entry, and the UK first edition criteria is listed below.
Copyright page has full number line 1 3 5 7 9 10 8 6 4 2 and also states "First published in Great Britain by William Heinemann in 2015". Boards are light blue with black lettering on the spine. Dust Jacket has no critical reviews nor any statement of bestseller. Front of dust jacket features a bird on a branch as a silhouette, with the book title large and prominent against faint italicized text that says "BY THE AUTHOR OF TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD". The back of the dust jacket has an illustration of the fictional town of Maycomb, Alabama and the single quote "Every man's island, Jean Louise, every man's watchman, is his conscience."
A "limited" amount of the first 25,000 books printed had six misprinted pages (see photos below) that affected pages 252, 261, 265, 268, 272, and 277. Each of the six pages have the same type of error - the bottom 49mm of the page is blank, which eliminates the page number and the last two lines of text. On many of the error pages, the last remaining line of text is also missing descenders on letters such as g, p, and y.
Shortly after the errors were discovered by readers, a spokesperson for the publisher, Penguin Random House was quoted in multiple media outlets as saying that "due to an error in the printing process a limited number of copies of Harper Leeís Go Set a Watchman are faulty." A spokesman for the printer, Clays, was also quoted around the same time stating that "we found a fault in the production process leading to missing lines on eight pages of a proportion of the print run. We have been working with the publisher to ensure the faulty stock is replaced as fast as possible."
Its not entirely clear why the printer initially said there were missing lines on eight pages, when only six error pages were discovered. One possible explanation is that the printer may have been initially misinformed about the number of affected pages. Another explanation could be that although eight pages may have been subjected to the problem, perhaps two of these pages were either the chapter marker pages (that have text only in the middle of the page), or the intentionally blank pages that are positioned between chapters. These pages would not reveal evidence of this type of error.
It was also reported that Amazon had sold many of the misprinted copies. Amazon had emailed customers who had purchased the novel and offered free replacements to anyone with missing text. A statement on the Amazon.co.uk listing for the book had stated: "We have been advised that copies shipped before July 16th 2015 may be missing text on some pages. We are working with the publisher to replace all affected orders as quickly as possible. Orders placed after July 16th 2015 are not affected." Amazon then sent a second email to customers with an errata containing the missing text.
This type of misprint is different from one-off random errors that typically affect a single book with unique errors such as missing pages, upside-down bindings, or miss-cut pages. Unlike one-off errors, this misprint was caused by a significant production problem that affected many books with the exact same error. And because it affected the initial run, it could be considered a first edition point.
Picture of the 2015 UK first edition dust jacket for Go Set a Watchman.
Picture of the UK first edition copyright page for Go Set a Watchman.
Picture of dust jacket where original £18.99 price is found for Go Set a Watchman.
Picture of the back dust jacket for the UK first edition of Go Set a Watchman.
Picture of the UK first edition William Heinemann boards for Go Set a Watchman.
Picture of the back dust jacket flap for the UK first edition of Go Set a Watchman.
Picture of the UK first edition title page for Go Set a Watchman.
Page 252 is missing its page number, and the following text: "I've killed you, Scout. I had to." "don't you give me any more double-talk! You're a nice,
Page 261 is missing its page number, and the following text: She grabbed for the water and drank rapidly. She kept her eyes closed and let the warm alcohol creep through her.
Page 265 is missing its page number, and the following text: "Why not, sir?" You wouldn't have listened to him. You couldn't have
Page 268 is missing its page number, and the following text: it by the letter and by the spirit of the law. That's the way he lives."
Page 272 is missing its page number, and the following text: "Feeble, hell! You're about as feeble as a crocodile!" Jean Louise touched her mouth.
Page 277 is missing its page number, and the following text: join him— "Atticus?" "Ma'am?"
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. If you spot a mistake, drop us an e-mail and we will do our best to investigate and correct it.