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: Eclipse
February 27, 2010
Eclipse was written by Stephenie Meyer. The first edition was published in 2007 by Little, Brown and Company (Megan Tingley Books). It was 629 pages long, and the retail price was $18.99.
The first edition criteria are as follows: "First Edition: September 2007" is stated in the middle of the copyright page, with full number line "10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1" on the bottom. The copyright page lacks any mention of a special edition, and the boards are black paper with silver lettering on the spine. Unlike the first editions of Twilight and New Moon, the author's first name is present on the book spine. But like Twilight and New Moon, the back of the dust jacket lacks any critical reviews or bestseller touts. Similar to the New Moon first issue jacket, the first issue dust jacket of Eclipse does have touts (for Twilight and New Moon) on the front cover and on the back flap. The price on the front dust jacket flap is $18.99.
Note: A special edition was published a year later. It too has a full number line, but it states "First Hardcover Edition: August 2007", followed by "First Special Edition: May 2008". The boards on the special edition are pictorial rather than black, and the dust jacket clearly states that it is a special edition. The back of the special edition dust jacket has touts, and the reverse side of the dust jacket is a full-color poster. Also, the price listed on special edition dust jacket is $19.99. Click here for more photos...
February 19, 2010
The Moviegoer was written by Walker Percy. The first edition was published in 1961 by Alfred A. Knopf. It was 242 pages long, and the retail price was $3.95. The Moviegoer won the National Book Award.
Here are the first edition criteria: FIRST EDITION is stated on the copyright page. Boards are slate blue with red cloth spine. Spine lettering is gold, with design in black on both front and spine. The book also has a slate blue top stain. There is a note about the author on the last page that should not mention any other books other than this, his first novel. The dust jacket has "0561" on the bottom of the front flap, and no reviews on the rear flap. Click here for more photos...
February 17, 2010
The Grapes of Wrath was written by John Steinbeck. The first edition was published in 1939 by Viking. It was 619 pages long, and the retail price was $2.75. The Grapes of Wrath won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.
Here are the first edition criteria: First printings have a single statement on the copyright page that says "FIRST PUBLISHED IN APRIL 1939" with no statement of subsequent printings.
The first printing was large - estimated between 20,000 and 50,000. But demand is high on this highly collectible book. Also the Dust Jacket is unique to the first edition (it states "FIRST EDITION"), so it is less abundant than the book.
The advance issue was identical to the first trade edition with the exception that it was accompanied by a publisher's card which was produced on glossy heavy paper, and measures 8" tall by 5" wide. It features the reproduction of a contemporary painting of the author by Stjernstrom. The card notes: JOHN STEINBECK whose new novel, THE GRAPES OF WRATH is published by The Viking Press." This same photo painting reproduction was also utilized as the frontispiece portrait of John Steinbeck for NEW YORK HERALD TRIBUNE critic Lewis Gannett's publication JOHN STEINBECK: PERSONAL AND BIBLIOGRAPHICAL NOTES, published in stapled wrappers by Viking Press also in 1939. Click here for more photos...
February 12, 2010
God and Man at Yale was written by William F. Buckley Jr.. The first edition was published in 1951 by Henry Regnery Company. It was 240 pages long, and the retail price was $3.50.
Here are the first edition criteria: Title and copyright pages both state 1951 with no statements of subsequent printings. Boards are navy blue with gold lettering on the spine. The dust jacket lacks any statement of printing on the front flap. The back dust jacket panel features a photo of the author followed by a 14 line biography that does not mention anything about being an Army veteran. The front of the dust jacket has the phrase the superstitions of "Academic Freedom" in black, with the first two words in all lowercase letters. Later printing dust jackets have this phrase in white with the first two words capitalized. Click here for more photos...
February 08, 2010
Presidential Agent was written by Upton Sinclair. The first edition was published in 1944 by Viking Press. It was 655 pages long, and the retail price was $3.00.
The first edition criteria are as follows: The first printing states "FIRST PUBLISHED BY THE VIKING PRESS IN JUNE 1944" on the copyright page. There should be no other printing statements. Boards are brick red with title and publisher's logo embossed on the front and silver lettering on the spine. Red top stain. The front dust jacket flap has reviews by Frederick L. Schuman, Thomas Mann, Bernard Shaw, Lion Feuchtwanger, and Lewis Browne. The back dust jacket flap has an advertisement for Lion Feuchtwanger's Simone.
This is volume V of the World's End series aka the "Lanny Budd" Novels.
Click here for more photos...
February 01, 2010
Racing Through Paradise was written by William F. Buckley Jr.. The first edition was published in 1987 by Random House. It was 344 pages long, and the retail price was $25.00.
Here are the first edition criteria: First Edition is stated on the copyright page below the full Random House number line "24689753". The binding is navy blue cloth with gold lettering. The back of the dust jacket has five reviews, beginning with one by George McGovern. Mr. Buckley tended to sign this book on the front end paper.
There were 353 limited copies of the first edition that were issued in a slipcase with a signed numbered page. These copies had bindings similar to the other first editions, but they had a special pocket in the back that held a signed and edited page from the original manuscript of Racing Through Paradise. The limited edition also had a book marker ribbon, and was issued in a slipcase rather than a dust jacket. The limited editions were part of the first edition printing, and as such they had the same copyright page as the other first editions, including the full random house number line and First Edition statement. 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.