On this day in 1940, the Pulitzer Prize was awarded to John Steinbeck for The Grapes of Wrath.
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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.
Today's Featured Book: Jarhead
May 21, 2009
Jarhead was written by Anthony Swofford. The first edition was published in 2003 by Scribners. It was 260 pages long, and the retail price was $24.00.
First edition criteria: Copyright page has full number line "1 3 5 7 9 10 8 6 4 2". Boards are gray with silver lettering on black cloth spine. Back of dust jacket has five reviews - by Scott Anderson, Joy Williams, Chris Offut, William Boyd, and Jonathan Shay. Back flap has photo of the author. Published in March of 2003, and basis of the 2005 film by the same name.
From the dust jacket - "Unlike the real-time print and television coverage of the Gulf War, which was highly scripted by the Pentagon, Swofford's account subverts the conventional wisdom that U.S. military interventions are now merely surgical insertions of superior forces that result in few American casualties. Jarhead insists we remember the Americans who are in fact wounded or killed, the fields of enemy corpes left behind, and the continuing difficulty that American soldiers have reentering civilian life." Click here for more photos...
Previously Featured Book: Bel Canto
May 20, 2009
Bel Canto was written by Ann Patchett. The first edition was published in 2001 by Harper Collins. It was 318 pages long, and the retail price was $25.00.
Here are the first edition criteria: Copyright pages has full number line "01 02 03 04 05 RRD 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1". Boards are dark purple with gold lettering on cloth textured spine. Back of dust jacket has four reviews - by A. Manette Ansay, Madison Smart Bell, The New Yorker, and San Francisco Chronicle. Back flap has photo of the author. Click here for more photos...
May 19, 2009
On Wings of Eagles was written by Ken Follett. The first edition was published in 1983 by Collins. It was 447 pages long, and the retail price was £9.95.
The first edition criteria are as follows: While we have no evidence to say this definitively, we believe the true first edition was published in the UK. We say this because the author is British and his other books were published in the UK. However because On Wings of Eagles is a non-fiction account of American citizens (including Ross Perot), there is a possibility that the U.S. edition might have been published first. Regardless of which was first, the UK edition seems to be more valuable, especially when signed by the author.
The first UK edition states "First published 1983" with no statements of subsequent impressions or printings. The boards are cream cloth with gold lettering on the spine. The back of the dust jacket has a photo of the author with no reviews. Click here for more photos...
May 16, 2009
Children of Men was written by P.D. James. The first edition was published in 1992 by Faber and Faber. It was 239 pages long, and the retail price was £14.99.
Here are the first edition criteria: The first edition was published in the UK. Copyright pages states "First published in 1992" on the top, with full number line "2 4 6 8 10 9 7 5 3 1" on the bottom. Boards are black cloth with white lettering. Dust jacket has three reviews on the back.
The first U.S. edition was published by Knopf in 1993, and states FIRST AMERICAN PRINTING on the copyright page. The American boards are black paper boards with gold lettering on turquoise cloth boards. Note that the book club edition also states FIRST AMERICAN EDITION on the copyright page, but the boards are paper and does not have a cloth spine. Click here for more photos...
May 14, 2009
Patriot Games was written by Tom Clancy. The first edition was published in 1987 by Putnam. It was 540 pages long, and the retail price was $19.95.
The first edition criteria are as follows: Copyright page has full number line "1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10". Boards are light gray with off-white cloth spine and gold lettering. Back of dust jacket has seven reviews, and ISBN 0-399-13241-4 on the bottom corner. The book is 9.25 inches tall, and approximately 6.5 inches across.
The first state has the following errors that were corrected at some point within the first printing: The last line on page 227 is repeated on the first line of page 228. The bottom of page 228 is missing the line "Information—it's all a battle for information. You have to know". The last line on page 230 is repeated on the first line of page 231. The bottom of page 232 is missing the line "I can't say."
The book club edition is smaller, it lacks a price on the jacket flap, and does not have the proper ISBN on the back of the dust jacket. Click here for more photos...
May 12, 2009
The Da Vinci Code was written by Dan Brown. The first edition was published in 2003 by Doubleday. It was 454 pages long, and the retail price was $24.95 .
The first edition criteria are as follows: First Edition is stated with the number line 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 on the copyright page. The dust jacket carries a price of $24.95. A comparison of two first printing dust jackets with several later printing jackets suggests that the first printing jacket flaps have a color that is slightly more gold than later printing flaps, which have more of a silver tone. Boards are black with black cloth spine.
Note: The book club edition also states First Edition and has the same number line as the true first edition. But the book club edition is one inch shorter (8.5 inches versus 9.5 inches) than the true first edition, and the dust jacket has no price.
Also note that there is a common misperception that certain first editions have particular typos and misspellings. While there were indeed some errors, they exist in all first printings and remained uncorrected throughout the entire first printing run. These same errors can also be found in subsequent printings through at least the sixth printing. And because these errors are found on all first editions, they are not considered first edition points. Click here for more photos...
Previously Featured Book: Ahab's Wife
May 09, 2009
Ahab's Wife was written by Sena Jeter Naslund. The first edition was published in 1999 by Morrow and Company. It was 668 pages long, and the retail price was $28.00.
Here are the first edition criteria: First Edition is stated above full number line "1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10" on the copyright page. Boards are cream with gold lettering on a threaded tan spine with maroon paste-downs. Back of dust jacket has eight reviews - by Bret Lott, Gail Godwin, Wally Lamb, Laurie Robertson-Lorant, Elizabeth Renker, Publishers Weekly, Booklist, and Kirkus Reviews. Illustrations by Christopher Wormell.
Warning: the book club edition has an identical copyright page as the first edition including a statement of First Edition and a full number line. However, the book club edition has white rather than maroon paste-downs, and the spine does not have threads.
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.