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First Edition / First Printing*- A frequently-confused distinction. Strictly speaking, all copies of a book are First Editions until the text is somehow altered from that of the first copies printed for sale. The alteration of text, resulting in second, or revised, editions occurs mostly in non-fiction. In works of fiction, the first edition is often the only one which ever exists; later copies will be printed without altering the text, and these will still technically be First Editions, though not First Printings. Only the original copies are First Printings, and these, of course, are what collectors want. Most dealers and collectors understand this distinction, but many glibly say "First Edition" when they mean "First Printing," often adding to the confusion by referring simply to "Firsts." Visually identifying a First Printing, or even a First Edition, is often difficult, as publishers use a variety of means to clarify – or obfuscate – the situation. *Usually refers to a hardcover, but can apply to a paperback original – see below.
Paperback Original - A book initially published as a paperback, without prior or simultaneous appearance in hardcover. First printings of these can also be collectable. In some places, such as our Newsletter, they may be identified as a tpo (trade paperback original) or pbo (paperback original, usually meaning mass-market paperback). Trade paperbacks are usually, but not necessarily, of a larger format than rack-size, whereas mass-market paperbacks are almost always rack size. But technically the distinction is that trade paperbacks are intended to be sold only through bookstores, whereas mass-markets are distributed also through non-book outlets. 1st Edition Thus- Means that this is not the first appearance of this book in print. However this book is substantially different than the first time it was in print. An example of this is Robert Crais’s Monkey’s Raincoat, which was a PBO however when it was re-released as a hardback- that hardback was a first edition thus.
Advance Reading Copy (ARC) - The text of a forthcoming book, issued by the publisher in a form resembling a trade paperback, for booksellers and reviewers so they will be familiar with the story when it is published. Usually subject to final editing. Also referred to as proof copy, uncorrected proof, galley, or galley proof.
Association Copy - A book having some indication of belonging to the author or someone close to him. Or if it was signed by the author to someone of note (i.e. famous). For example the copy of Ian Fleming’s The Spy Who Loved Me inscribed to Robert Kennedy, would be an association copy. It has more value due to its’ proximity to the owner and author.
Ex-Library Copy - Is a book which has been, at some point, in a lending library. Often disfigured by stamps, stickers, book-plates and general hard use by borrowers. Grading for an ex-library should never be above good due to the vary amount of care they receive while on a library shelf. They are tolerated by collectors when no other copy can be obtained or afforded. When selling this type of book it must be noted that is indeed an ex-library.
Book Club Edition - A book which has been produced specifically for a book club association (such as the one you see where you can get ten books for a penny if you sign up for their service). Usually the quality of the book is lower than the same book printed by the publishing house and bought through a book store. When listing this type of book for sale the seller should always denote this as a book club edition. And generally collectors aren’t as interested in this edition, buying them when no other version is available or affordable.
Reading Copy/ Place Holder - When a book is perfectly serviceable for reading; however for a collector there are to many flaws for it to be of value. A collector often will use it to hold the place for that particular title until one in better condition can be obtained.