[ModLib] More First Edition Points Needed For Many Titles

Scot Kamins kamins at modernlib.com
Mon Jul 2 14:04:32 EDT 2007

On Jul 2, 2007, at 10:41 AM, Barry Miller (via Scot Kamins) wrote:

 > In the past few months I've checked specific ML titles for first
 > edition points, possibly eight or ten times. Don't claim to be` an
 > authority on the fine job you and others have done with this new
 > addition to your webpage. But in every case, as I recall, I've
 > gotten the impression that the indicated points may be insufficient
 > for pinning down whether a book is indeed a first edition.

I think you may be right. While I by and large trust the accuracy of
the stuff in BookNotes, I too think that in a number of cases there
just isn't enough info to be really complete.
 > For example, in no instance did I see (so far as I can remember)
 > you use the dating guide. In a way that suits me fine because I
 > find the dating guide highly suspect, especially for later years
 > (late 60s). Sometimes those book catalogs are as much as five years
 > old. I'm delighted to think that a handful of my books from that
 > period which defy accurate dating via the dating guide may be
 > firsts after all.

Well, yes - anything from 1967 on suspect at least to some degree.
And I think you're right about my not using the dating key, even for
pre-1967 books. I rely on the number on the DJ inverse. Of course,
there are a number of cases -- such as before and after the inverse
had such numbers. I'll look more at that.

Also, I wonder if there's a reliable way to know which first edition
books even HAD catalogs in the back -- could the presence or absence
be a loose indicator of First Edition status, at least in the sense
of confirming more specific points?

 > Only yesterday, a friend and fellow ML collector asked me to verify
 > whether two late sixties MLs in his collection are firsts. One of
 > them, The Buddhist Tradition, #205 has a catalog. But that`catalog
 > is way out of whack. So in both cases I fell back on your
 > description whether it's sufficient or not-- stated ML edition on
 > copyright page and #14 binding.

Yeah. The logos are often helpful as well. Ron has pointed out to me
that a number of DJs on an author page are labeled as 1967 vintage --
dated as they were based on the catalogs at the end of the book
because the DJ images were sent to me BEFORE we knew about the
unreliability of post-1967 catalogs -- when you can tell from the
logos and other hints that the DJs are 1969-1970 vintage.
 > You also do not appear to use what might be called secondary issues
 > like DJ back panel style and flyleaf price. Sometimes, I think,
 > those factors help establish the validity of a first; sometimes
 > they cast doubt on it.

Oh, I think you've hit the nail on the head here!!! We now have a
solid idea of when prices changed, so those are good to use. We can
use DJ backs as well; thanks to Ron Holl's efforts, these may become
of better use in the future and it DOES make sense to add that info
-- if it proves to be reliable -- as first edition points.  

In sum, here are some first edition points (some mentioned above,  
some not, with questions) that might be added to BookNotes for many  

* DJ back -- Is this generally a reliable indicator, based on the  
dates of use as noted in ModernLib, especially for post-1963 issues  
that had no "available titles" count at the top of the DJ inverse?

* Price on DJ flap -- Some DJ flaps don't show prices. Are there any  
firsts that lack the price?

* ISBN numbers -- Can the presence of these be used as a negative  
indicator (no first DJs had ISBN numbers) as a search of the mailing  
list archives seems to indicate?

* Presence or absence of back-of-book catalog?

* Dating key -- Especially useful for books in the 1963 - 1967 time  
frame, after "available titles" count disappeared from DJ inverses  
and while back-of-book catalogs were still being updated?

What do others think?

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