How reliable are the back-of-book catalogs?

Scot Kamins kamins at
Tue Apr 24 18:25:55 EDT 2001

In a recent e-mail, BooksetcSF at said (in part):

>I don't think it is question of the reliability of the catalogues in the 
>but whether the djs were switched or later ones put on by the publisher. The 
>addition of new dust jackets by the publisher I believe was not particularly 

Right. But I'm speaking now specifically of the book itself in terms of 
its binding (and the dates we attribute to the use of that binding) and 
the titles that appear in the catalog at the back of the book. 

An example would be the catalog at the back of a number 7 binding, 
reputedly out of existence by 1940, listing a copy of Babbit (162.2) 
which didn't start until 1942.

A more common case would be a later book with an earlier catalog. For 
example, let's say you had a Babbit (first published in 1942) and the 
catalog's latest listing was for a Lewisohn. 

Choose your own examples --  the real question is: Were the catalogs 
reliably up to date, such that they can be used as valid dating tools?

     `\|||/                     Scot Kamins

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