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Ever wondered whether your copy would be a first printing? Then this short list of examples might be useful. This comprehandsive "guide" was provided by Ben Pearson.

There are a number of ways to show whether it is a First Edition or not and different publishers use different methods. It takes a lot of practice to master the art of determining whether a book is First Edition or not. The used book sellers do it best because that is their business. I have several friends in the used book business and they have helped me. Here is the way First Editions are determined:

  1. Most publishers today use the edition numbering system. Look at the reverse side of the title page (usually about the 3rd page in the book). You should find a series of numbers near the Copyright. They look like this:

    1 3 5 7 9 10 8 6 4 2

    The lowest number in the sequence determines the edition number. For instance, since 1 is the lowest number, this would be a First Edition. However, if it looks like this:

    3 5 7 9 10 8 6 4

    The 1 and the 2 are missing meaning this would be a Third Edition book. With each succeeding edition, one number is dropped off.

  2. In addition, you might see this:

    First published 1997
    Copyright c Jack Higgins 1997

    When the copyright date and published date are the same, that usually means First Edition. But, be careful with this because it could be a second printing in the first year and, therefore, it would NOT be a First Edition book. I have a copy of "A Prayer for the Dying" which has this on the copyright page:

    First published September 1973
    Reprinted October 1973
    C 1973 Jack Higgins

    This, technically, is NOT a First Edition because it is second printing.

  3. Some of the older books will say this:

    C Martin Fallon 1962 First published 1962 Library of Congress Catalogue Card Number 62:82:81

    I call this a First Edition.

  4. I have a copy of "The Run to Morning" It says:

    First published in the United States of America in 1974 Copyright c 1974 by James Graham

    I call this a "US First Edition"

  5. I have 3 copies of "To Catch a King". They are all First Editions but all different. Here is why:

    One says:

    First Published 1979 c Harry Patterson 1979 Printed in Great Britain by Anchor Press Ltd. (UK First Edition)

    The second one says:

    First Published 1979 c Harry Patterson 1979 Printed and bound in Canada (Canadian First Edition)

    The third one says:

    First Published 1979 Copyright c 1979 by Harry Patterson Printed in the United States of America (US First Edition)

  6. The above are all hard cover books. You will see similar printing on the title pages for many paperback books but only the hard cover books count as true First Editions.