The Number run on 'First Editions'

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The Number run on 'First Editions'

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Lug 21, 2007, 4:08pm

This is a dumb question for such well educated LTs - but I do not understand the significance of the number run.

I know that an intact number line 1 - 10 is important, but does it mean that if it is not intact, but states FIRST EDITION, it is not a true first (I think of a US edition of a UK author for example). Or does it mean that it is not a first printing?

When the numbers are scrambled - what does that mean???

Lug 21, 2007, 4:29pm

1> I know that an intact number line 1 - 10 is important,
By itself the number line is not important. For example, a lot of reprints will have a complete printing slug like 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 or 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 or 1 3 5 7 9 8 6 4 2. That just shows it's the first printing of that edition. It might be the 118th reprint edition of that book to come out. Some publishers only put out reprint editions but use a number line.

A UK edition and a US edition will usually each have a number line that begins with a 1 for the first printing. The true first is called for by release dates. If one was released to the public in one country two months before the other country then that is the true first. However, by following the flag the country of the author's origin is preferred by a lot of collectors. The true first of The adventures of Hucklberry Finn is the UK edition but the US edition is more sought after.

A lot of publishers will state FIRST EDITION on later printings with a number line like 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 with that number line denoting a sixth printing. What collectors want is first edition and first printing with the correct points and states for both the book and the dust jacket if any apply.

Lug 27, 2007, 2:27pm

Since exceptions always prove the rule, Random House never uses a "1" in its number sequence. When present, the number sequence and designation of a first edition hardback appears as follows:

First Edition

The second printing drops the "First Edition." Their paperbacks use a standard number line with the "1" present.

A good reference for this is A Pocket Guide to the Identification of First Editions

Lug 27, 2007, 9:37pm

Random House changed their number lines in about 2002 and now include a "1" in the number line. The term first edition needs to be there for a Random House first edition whether the number starts with a 1 or a 2.

Lug 28, 2007, 1:20pm

Thanks, that's useful information. Do you know if the second printing drops both the "First Edition" slug and the "1" ?

Lug 28, 2007, 8:18pm

5> So far, Random House has been consistent with dropping the first edition statement and the "1" in their recent books that go into 2nd or later printings.