As a book collector, collecting rare books is something that you must be interested in doing. That’s because first edition books are a perfect example for rare books. However, you will need to do a bit of research on the internet before you purchase rare books. This research you do will assist you to ensure that you purchase the best rare books out there without making any mistakes. Here is an online guide that will help you to learn how to identify first edition books and how to purchase them. Always stick to this guide and you will end up with getting the results you wanted.
What exactly is a first edition book?
A first edition is a book where the book was first made available to the market. According to the definition in the ABAA glossary of book terms, a first edition book refers to all the copies in the very first setting of type. There can be multiple printings under the first edition. However, all of them are under the same type setting. Hence, you will be able to call all those books as first edition books.
As a book collector, you should understand the difference that exists in between a first edition book as well as a modern first edition book as well. Then you can end up with purchasing a book that is truly a first edition. The term modern first edition is applicable for the books that are printed after 1900. However, there is no straightforward definition to this fact. It is up to the book dealers to play around with this term and come up with the right definition for selling their books.
What exactly is first printing of a book?
We often see situations where people get confused in between the first edition and first printing of a book. You should be aware about the difference between these two terms as well. First printing is the situation where the books are printed from the very first type settings. For all the small-scale presses, this would refer to the only printing that the book will go through. Hence, you can call all the books as first printings and first edition books.
Every single printed book out there has first editions. However, most of the books don’t have any later editions. That happens when the book doesn’t become a success. The successful books will have dozens of later editions. It all depends on the success and popularity of the book.
Learning how to tell whether a book is a first edition book or not
You should have a strong understanding on whether to tell a book is a first edition book or not. The books that were released to the market before 1900s didn’t indicate any subsequent printings. The best method available out there to check and confirm whether an old book is a first edition book or not is to take a look at the date. You will usually be able to see the date in the tile page. However, this is not a 100% accurate method available to confirm whether a book is a first edition book or not. That’s because this practice varies from one publisher to another. Hence, it is better if you can refer to a reference guide and confirm whether a book is a first edition book or not. Then you will be able to confirm the facts before you spend your money to purchase the book.
The western publishers started representing edition of the book on the copyright page. Shapero says this practice started in the mid-1900s. Hence, you will not be able to apply this strategy to the book that were published before 1900s.
In some of the books, you will be able to see the first edition represented in simple terms such as “First Printing”. However, not all the publishers adhered to this because there wasn’t any standard. At the end of the 20th Century, most of the British and American publishers came up with the concept of introducing some numbers in the copyright page, so that it is possible for them to indicate printing. This number series looked like 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10.
It was also possible to see variations in this number series from one book publisher to another as well. For example, some of the publishers used the numbers in reverse format to indicate first edition. On the other hand, we can also see how some of the publishers published books and indicated them in an odd format in this number sequence. Hence, it is better if you can do a bit of a background research about the publisher and learn more about the format behind this number sequence. This understanding will be able to deliver all the support you want to confirm whether a book is a first edition book or not.
Why should you collect first edition books?
Now you are aware about the steps to follow and understand first edition books. While keeping that in mind, you should also understand the reasons on why you need to be collecting first edition books available out there.
The main reason why you need to stick to the first edition books as a rare book collector is because of their value. First edition books are available only in a limited quantity. There is no possibility for new first edition books under the same title to come out in the future. Hence, it is important for you to learn how to stick to the first edition books and make sure that you are getting the maximum out of them. This will assist you to get hold of the most outstanding results at the end of the day as well. Always learn how to accurately identify the true first edition books, so that you will not be making any mistakes with your purchases.