The First Edition


The line was long, but she persevered – it was after all her favourite author. It was still early. Her head jutted out trying to count how many others were before her. It was impossible to tell for sure. If she moved a few inches over she would have a better view, but that wasn’t worth the risk. If she lost her spot now, she’d be devastated. They started to move. She held her breath, hoping she would be among the few to be able to get a signed first edition.

Today, the above paragraph could be considered Historical Fiction. With all the changes in the book industry, the coveted first edition has undergone a drastic makeover itself and sadly, not for the better. Gone are the days when it was prestigious to collect firsts prints, some so in demand that they were limited and numbered. While you may still find a handful of authors producing something collection worthy on their first print, this isn’t the norm for today’s industry.

In a world of mass production, authors are putting out books faster and faster. Errors and misprints are often overlooked by authors when a title is first published. Whether it is one mistake or a hundred, putting out a new edition is how it is corrected. That leaves the question of what to do with the earlier editions.

There is no question that every book costs money to print. In most cases, it isn’t a viable option to recycle or toss away an entire order. Authors today simply can’t afford it. The result – a significantly reduced price to clear out stock to make way for a better version. Depending on what was wrong with the book in the first place, readers should be aware they are buying a less-than-perfect copy. Discounted or not, in most cases these books are still going to be read. These first prints are a dime a dozen. From my experience it makes more sense to pay full price for a better product that can be enjoyed.

In the end draw your own conclusions. If you are offered a first edition for one third of the price make sure you know why it is so cheap. Ask questions, rather than being disappointed. Remember, if you are looking for a copy that one day will be valuable, it will be a hardcover and identified on the inside.

Happy reading. Thanks for visiting and I hope you’ll come back next week for ‘The Write Information’.