How reliable are the back-of-book catalogs?

Scot Kamins kamins at
Tue Apr 24 14:34:11 EDT 2001


In entering each new piece of my collection in my database, I like to 
include the printing date of each book and (if different) dust jacket. I 
do this by looking at the catalogs on the back of the dust jacket and at 
the back of the book (if these catalogs exist) and comparing what I find 
to the date charts from the guide and from my Web site 

I often notice a disparity -- and sometime a wide one -- between the date 
I glean from a catalog at the back of a given book and the binding of 
that book. For example, the guide might indicate that a specific book's 
binding was in use between 1930 and 1935 (I'm making these dates up 
because my guide isn't nearby), yet the highest numbered book in the 
catalog at the back of that same book might be one from 1937.

So my question is: How reliable is the catalog at the back of the book? 
Were there years when the catalogs were absolutely accurate and others 
when they were completely unreliable?

Scot Kamins
Collecting The Modern Library 1917-1970
(because fanaticism is not limited to politics, religion, or economics)
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