Blog Posts tagged "first editions"


Every famous poet and writer started small, usually with cautious publishers who printed small batches of the first edition of their early books. For most, the cautious print runs continues, even after winning awards, because poetry has ever been an relatively low-volume business, even for the big names. When they later became reknowned, even famous, at home and abroad, these relatively scarce fir... [more]

Robert Jordan was the best-selling author of The Wheel of Time fantasy series, and (because I need to get my utter impartiality out of the way at the start) one of my favorite authors. I've collected his books for the past 25 years. If you're unfamiliar with The Wheel of Time, think of it as a 14-volume The Lord of the Rings set at a future point in Earth's history when society has regressed techn... [more]


Books of the Week

By Rich Rennicks

Five books caught the eye among this week's crop of new listings -- along with one unusual piece of jewelry! -- which proves you never know what you'll find in a rare book shop! Winne-the-Pooh (First Edition) London: Methuen, 1926. Shepard, Ernest H.. First edition. Limited to 350 copies printed on handmade paper and signed by Milne and Shepard. With all of the well-known and well-loved illustrati... [more]


First State Notes

By John Schulman

What's the difference between a first edition, first printing, first issue, and first state? Pay attention, there will be a quiz! Sometimes the most simple questions have the most complicated answers. Does God exist? What is love? Who wrote Shakespeare's plays? And what IS the difference between a first edition, a first printing, a first issue, and a first state? If you already know the difference... [more]

Vladimir Nabokov's Lolita is one of the most-celebrated and most-notorious novels of the twentieth century. Its path to publication did not run smooth, and there are many different editions and translations worthy of the collector's attention. 1955: The Olympia Press Two-Volume First Edition The multi-lingual Nabokov (he grew up speaking Russian, English and French at home) finished Lolita in 1953... [more]

Happy 20th anniversary of Harry Potter! It's hard to believe it has only been twenty years as the characters have become such a large part of popular culture, but the first Harry Potter book was published twenty years ago, today! A lot of people now collect J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter books. In fact, the major book collectors of tomorrow will likely bond over their memories of midnight-release par... [more]

I think of myself as a Beatrix Potter fan. I bought some nice reproductions of the original Peter Rabbit stories for my kids when they were young, and my Farmer McGregor impression regularly reduced them to fits of giggles. But, until recently, I never realized there are literally dozens of books and characters by Potter that I've never come across. Perhaps publishers don't believe her brand of si... [more]


Collecting Roald Dahl

By Rich Rennicks

Happy Roald Dahl Day! The renowned British children's book author, screenwriter, and WWII fighter pilot, was born one hundred years ago, today (September 13, 1916). Dahl (or more accurately his books) has been in the headlines often in 2016, first as Steven Spielberg's adaptation of Dahl's classic The BFG hit the theaters and again after the death of the actor Gene Wilder, whose most-celebrated ro... [more]


Collecting Madeline

By Helen Younger

Helen Younger, a specialist in collectible children's books and illustrations, discusses points of the first edition of Ludwig Bemelmans' Madeline and how it has fared in the rare book market. Very few people who attempt to have a children's book published actually succeed in either getting it published or if published, having it sell well. One may be able to write a decent story but because he/sh... [more]


First Edition Clubs

By Rich Rennicks

On Black Friday, I got an email from Barnes & Noble trumpeting their (discounted) signed books! The most notable thing about the email -- besides their rather dubious claim to have the greatest selection of signed books “in the world” 1 -- was that this was their primary marketing message, the pitch they were pinning their financial hopes on: signed books were going to make their Black Friday ... [more]

Trying to cajole John Thomson of Bartleby's Books to contribute a couple paragraphs on Moby Dick, I asked him whether he still read it every few years. “Oh yes,” he said, “still do.” I asked him why he kept on reading it, what he could possibly get out of it by now. “I would find it impossible to put into words how much that book means to me and what I find in it. Its meanings change, an... [more]

Ted Hughes was born on August 17, 1930. He became one of the most-famous poets of the Twentieth Century, and was Great Britain's Poet Laureate from 1984 until his death in 1998 (Poet's Laureate traditionally served for life -- the exception being John Dryden, who was dismissed from the post in 1688 because he would not tale a loyalty oath to the new king, Wiliam III -- but the institiution was ame... [more]


My First Book

By James M. Dourgarian

Can you point to your first book? I can. No, it wasn't the first book I ever read, but it was the first collectible book I ever obtained. It started me on a journey that took me from nascent book collector, when I really had no idea what that meant, to sophisticated book collector, to professional book seller, to member of the Antiquarian Bookseller's Association of America (ABAA). The year was 1... [more]

Like any field of endeavor, the rare book trade has its quirks and rituals, its habits and history, its jargon and secrets. Unlike some other trades, book dealers have never been afraid to commit their secrets, memories, and insights to paper. There are many, many fascinating and educational books detailing the inner workings of the rare book trade. We polled some dealers and collectors and arrive... [more]

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