How reliable are the back-of-book catalogs?

BooksetcSF at BooksetcSF at
Tue Apr 24 20:20:56 EDT 2001

In a message dated 4/24/01 3:26:26 PM Pacific Daylight Time, 
kamins at writes:

> 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?
> THE SHORT ANSWER IS PROBABLY NOT, for the publisher's planned ahead for 
> future publications and then did not necessarily bring them out when they 
> intended to. If the books had really been brought out sequentially the 
> number of a book (excluding when a number was used again) would directly 
> correspond to the date  of publication.  This is often not the case. So, I 
       Henry for Books etc
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