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.
Tinkers won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.
The front cover from the first edition hardcover of Tinkers.
This is the copyright page from the first edition hardcover of Tinkers. Notice that it lists ISBNs for both the softcover and the hardcover. The copyright page from the softcover is identical.
The dust jacket from the first edition hardcover of Tinkers has a price of $25.00 found on the front flap.
This is the dust jacket back of the first edition hardcover of Tinkers.
This is the boards from the first edition hardcover of Tinkers.
This is the back dust jacket flap from the first edition hardcover of Tinkers.
This is the title page from the first edition hardcover of Tinkers that was distributed by Powell's. The illustration of the clock parts was inserted by Powell's. It is the back of their limited edition page.
This is the limited edition page from the hardcover distributed by Powell's Books. (The number has been obscured by request of the book's owner.)
This is the front of the first edition softcover, which touts the first four words of the Marilynne Robinson review from the back cover.
This is the copyright page from the first edition softcover. Notice that it lists ISBNs for both the softcover and the hardcover. The copyright page from the hardcover is identical and likewise, it also lists both ISBNs.
This is the back of the first edition softcover.
This copyright page from the Advance Reader Copy is different from the first edition. It shows only a single ISBN for the softcover. This is consistent with reports that the original intention was to publish only a softcover. But then the publisher decided to produce a small quantity of hardcovers, and to publish both the softcover and hardcover simultaneously.
This print-on-demand softcover edition is obviously a later printing but it has a copyright page identical to that of the Advance Reader's Copy including a statement of FIRST EDITION and a complete number line. However it is easily identified as a later printing by the "WINNER of the PULTIZER PRIZE" statement on the front cover.
This print-on-demand edition has a full number line on the copyright page, however, it also states the exact date is was printed on the last page which makes it evident that it is in fact a later printing.
The first edition dust jacket has no mention of the Pulitzer Prize. Later issue dust jackets are printed with "WINNER of the PULITZER PRIZE" on the front.
The first edition boards are blue/green with silver lettering. Later printing boards are green with gold lettering.
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.