At the time of collecting rare books, numerous questions will come to your mind. Identifying whether you have a rare book or not holds a prominent place out of them. How can you accurately tell whether you own a rare book or not? There is no need to struggle because you will be able to use few important facts to confirm this fact. Here are few such useful tips that any person will be able to use to determine whether they own first edition books or not.
Take a look at the copyright date
Shapero says the very first step that you need to follow to identify a first edition book is to take a look at the copyright date. While you do that, you will need to have a good understanding about the exact year where the book was published as well. You can get that information from the internet. If the date of first publishing the book is equivalent to the copyright date, then you will be able to take it as a good sign. However, this is only a sign that it is a first edition book, and you will not be able to confirm the fact based only on this.
Go through the copyright page
You should carefully go through the copyright page of the book you have. As you do it, you will need to check and see whether you can see the words “First Edition” printed on it or not. This is not something that you can see in all the first edition books. That’s because it is completely up to the publishing house to print whether a book is a first edition book or not on the copyright page. However, this is a habit that most of the publishers do. Hence, you can stick to it at all times.
It is also important to understand that seeing the word “First Edition” doesn’t mean that you have got a rare and a valuable book. That’s because this term gives out numerous meanings to the publishers and collectors out there. For most of the collectors, this refers to the fact that it is the very first version of a physically printed book. But for the publishers, this refers to the fact that it is the very first version of text. In other words, it means that it contains text as written by the author, without any alternations.
Most of the publishers out there tend to publish a hardcover edition of a book and call it as a first edition book. As long as the author adds new content, corrects a mistake, or do any other revision to the text, it will remain as the first edition of the book. Therefore, you must keep this fact in your mind as you buy a first edition book.
Take a look at the print run number
Another effective method available for you to identify a first edition book would be to go through the print run number. This is another effective approach followed by the collectors in identifying the rare books. Therefore, we encourage you to do the same as well. First edition will usually refer to the very first version of the book to come out to the world. However, the print runs are a sequence number of the copies of the book, which were printed at any given time. It is possible for a book to have a small print run or a large print run. It is entirely up to the publisher to do this. However, the print run is not shared by some of the publishers among general public.
You don’t need to worry too much about this because you will be able to take a look at the copyright page and locate the print run number. It will usually look like a sequence of numbers. For example, a print run number can start from 1 and finish from 10. It can be in ascending order, descending order, or even in alternating order. No matter what, the lowest number that you can see on this page would be the print run number. While keeping that in mind, you can confirm whether the book is a first edition book or not.
Other important things to keep an eye on
Based on the above-mentioned factors, it will be possible for you to confirm the fact on whether you are dealing with a first edition book or not. However, we encourage you to keep few other points in your mind, so that you can confirm the fact of whether you own a first edition book or not.
In some of the books, you will be able to see a statement called “Second printing before publication” as well. Some people wonder whether this is referring to the first edition books or not. You need to notice that this refers to the fact that the very first book didn’t meet the number of orders that it received from the readers. Hence, the publisher is boasting on the fact that the very first edition set of books were sold out even before they were released to the market.
You shouldn’t consider these books as first edition books. They are technically referring to the second edition books. Therefore, you should not pay unnecessarily on such a second edition book as well.
As a rare book collector, identifying first edition books is extremely important. That’s because the first edition books usually hold value when compared to the other edition books. On the other hand, the first edition books tend to gain value at a faster pace when compared to the other edition books. Hence, you will need to keep these facts in your mind and spend your money in the process of purchasing a first edition book. Then you will be able to get the most out of the first edition books available.