The consensus is that the American edition (Knopf) precedes the UK edition (Jonathan Cape). The UK edition was intended to be first, and the wording of the copyright pages on both editions support this intention. There was however a printer strike in the UK, and as a consequence, the American edition was published first. That said, the UK edition is scarcer and thus commands a higher price than the American edition in the book market. Below is the first American edition.
FIRST AMERICAN EDITION is stated on the copyright page. Boards are gray with maroon cloth boards and silver lettering. The back of the dust jacket has a single centered review from Publishers Weekly and 394-51470-X on the bottom right corner. The back dust jacket flap has a photo of the author above a short bio saying that he is the author of one other novel, Grimus. The code on the bottom of the back flap states 4/81 indicating that it was published in April, 1981.
Midnight's Children is one of Time Magazine's 100 Best Novels. Other Time 100 Novels include Housekeeping and Neuromancer
Picture of the 1981 first edition dust jacket for Midnight's Children.
Picture of the first edition copyright page for Midnight's Children.
Picture of dust jacket where original $13.95 price is found for Midnight's Children.
Picture of the back dust jacket for the first edition of Midnight's Children.
Picture of the first edition Knopf boards for Midnight's Children.
Picture of the back dust jacket flap for the first edition of Midnight's Children.
Picture of the first edition title page for Midnight's Children.
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.