Friday, June 18, 2010

How to Start Collecting First Editions or Not

First of all, let me tell you my opinion of First Edition Collections.  NOT WORTH THE TIME! And especially if you're collecting 20th or 21st Century Modern Fiction. 

Why you ask (you did ask, right?) Well because the other 20 million of us who bought the same books as First Editions, put the Dustjackets in to mylar covers and squirreled them away, do not need any more competition.  Seriously though, everyone is collecting "signed" first editions from people like Janet Ivanovich and Stephen King and....and....

The charm of Signed editions used to be that NO one else had one.  So what is the point if everyone else has one??  There's reduced monetary value some times to the point of worthlessness. The signature from some authors would be worth more if you cut it out of the book and framed it with something else of interest. Like a postcard.  That's my 2 cents... not worth much be it.

Now if you still want to start collecting these then get yourself some reference material.

The first book I bought and I still use a later edition of it was A Pocket Guide to the Indentifications of First Editions by Bill McBride. And it really is a pocket guide. It's not very expensive either so you can easily but one for your purse or one for the glove compartment of each car.

Here's how you use it - open the book you're contemplating buying, and look at the copyright page. Who is the publisher? Now flip to the publisher's name in the McBride Guide - it will tell you how the publisher normally identifies their first editions.  Here are a couple of examples of the designations:

Col - Colphon - page of information about the book usually found at the back of the book (blog author's note - more often in older books in my experience)

CP - Copyright Page
FAE - words FIRST AMERICAN EDITION must appear on the back of the title page with no additional printing indicated.

Now every publisher listed has a designation like one or more of these to indicate how they designated their first editions so Ziff-Davis UK says FPu(y) - FPu  translates to "words First Published must appear on the back of the title page with no additional printing  and the y means a year following any other identification method so for a Ziff Davis UK published book to be a "True First" the minimum would have to be, on the copyright page it will say FIRST PUBLISHED Sept 1986 (or just 1986). 

More tomorrow (yeah I'm gonna milk this for a few days, I'm in the #blog30 challenge and I'm days I'm gonna use this one for while. LOL )

Down below is a widget with a sideshow that has the McBride book in it. If you click onthe picture it will take you to that book on Amazon and you can buy it.  Be nice and buy one for your friend, husband, wife, son, daughter or book buying buddy.  In Full Disclosure, the theory is I get referral money from amazon if you do. In reality? it's never happened yet.  

Summer Reading on Amazon


  1. AACCK -- way too much to remember. I think I'll just enjoy reading the later editions and leave collecting to those more advanced! thanks for all the info!

  2. Good to know! I almost didn't read this post because today I'm all about dumping clutter. NOT bringing in more stuff! It's my husband who collects first editions, but he likes old books like Edgar Rice Burroughs and such. Our house resembles a library here and there, and there, and...

  3. Oh Karen Trust me! I know! - 9 books and mulitple boxes and tubs of books and 2 piles bigger than he is... (my husband)and those are the ones he hasn't read yet.