How to recognize a first edition?

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How to recognize a first edition?

Postby Serkanner » Fri Apr 11, 2008 5:56 am

Quite some time ago there was a website about Dune that was capable of explaining the difference between a number of different first editions of Dune.

As far as I know this website doesn't exist any more and possibly the knowledge has also been lost. I think it would be a good idea to "re-build" this knowledge about the first printings of our treasured Dune.

What I "know" is that:

"True" first edition was printed in 4 printings. ( rare )

There is the "Book Club" first edition. ( not so rare )

The two can be distinguished because of the difference in size of the book:

1st edition = app. 23 x 15 CM
Book Club = app. 21.5 x 14.5 CM

The dust jacket of the BC edition has "Book Club Edition " printed on it.

The "First Edition" I own doesn't mention anything about 1st, 2nd etc. printing. I am inclined to think this means its a "true"First edition, first print and therefore very rare. But I am not sure.

I hope others can add to this.

PS: The one I have is NOT the one Brian Herbert has lost ... the idiot!
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Postby orald » Fri Apr 11, 2008 7:23 am

Of course, some pictures could come in handy. :)
In memory of Perach, who suffered and died needlessly.

I wish I could have been with you that one last time.
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Postby Serkanner » Fri Apr 11, 2008 7:40 am

orald wrote:Of course, some pictures could come in handy. :)




I have taken some pictures of my two copies. One is a Book Club Edition in a very good condition. The other one is a First Edition ( unknown print ) in an awful condition ( as an ex-library book ), but it does have emotional value.

The dust jacket of the Book Club edition

Full:

Image

Detail:

Image

Both Books together - the smaller one is the Book Club Edition:

Image

First Edition copyright sheet ( with library of congress card number ):

Image

Book Club copyright sheet ( no library of congress card number ):

Image

First Edition spelling error:

Image

Book Club correct spelling:

Image
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Postby Tleilax Master B » Fri Apr 11, 2008 9:49 am

Omphalos is da man in this regard. PM him and he will certainly have all your answers....
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Postby Serkanner » Fri Apr 11, 2008 10:06 am

I hope Omphalos will make an appearance here and share his knowledge.
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Postby orald » Fri Apr 11, 2008 10:23 am

*Need puking smiley for the design* And they don't even mention spice or its importance anywhere in that first page of the Book Club summary! :shock:

I'd have expected the pages to be a bit more yellowed after 40+ years, you know? Did you nick them from some museum? :P

Now scribble "to #1 son" on it and blackmail Brian for millions! :twisted:
In memory of Perach, who suffered and died needlessly.

I wish I could have been with you that one last time.
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Postby Serkanner » Fri Apr 11, 2008 10:31 am

orald wrote:*Need puking smiley for the design* And they don't even mention spice or its importance anywhere in that first page of the Book Club summary! :shock:

I'd have expected the pages to be a bit more yellowed after 40+ years, you know? Did you nick them from some museum? :P

Now scribble "to #1 son" on it and blackmail Brian for millions! :twisted:


:lol: ...


I honestly bought them. The Book Club version for about $ 50,00 and the battered first edition for a mere $ 20,00 I also managed to lay my hands on the other five volumes in hard back first editions for only $ 80,00 in total.

The thing I really miss is an autographed version of any of the books.

On the internet I found an autographed first edition for sale for the small amount of $ 12.000,00 :shock: ... there is a weird thing though with this book. I know Frank always signed books and then crossed out the printed name. In this book Frank forgot to cross out his printed name, or this seller tries to sell a forged autograph.
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Postby orald » Fri Apr 11, 2008 11:21 am

Hmm, sounds fishy. I don't think FH would've forgot it if he did it constantly, that's like he'd forget to write his last name.
In memory of Perach, who suffered and died needlessly.

I wish I could have been with you that one last time.
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Postby Omphalos » Fri Apr 11, 2008 11:32 am

Ill have to look at my notes wehn I get home. The general rule of thumb is that any book marked "First Edition" by Chilton is just that. The real first edition hardbacks are bound in blue moroccan leather. The BCE's, of which there appear to be trillions out there, are bound in red letherette hardboards. I have heard of first edition, later printings coming in green boards, but I have not seen any. I think I have the ISBN at home though. IIRC there were five or so printings of the original first edition, each one noted with a different ISBN only, and with no individual notation of the printing number on the title page.

The BCE's are worth about $25 - $50 USD, more if signed. That green book you have is almost certainly a library rebound. In other words, it probably was a library copy that was so used and abused that the library got it rebound by a library binding service. Those services usually dont use hardboards with designs on them though. To tell the truth, those hardboards look a bit like the kind that David Hartwell used to use with his Gregg Press books, but I dont think they ever publised a version of Dune (though IIRC Hartwell did proof it for Herbert). I also note that it has a seriel stamp in it, so its probably an ex-library copy.

Ill look at home for my notes, but honestly, the best thing to do is to contact Chilton and ask them. They are still a going operation, and IIRC they have a firm historian there.
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Postby Mandy » Fri Apr 11, 2008 2:08 pm

I read my BCE until it fell apart. My mom was in the Book of the Month club, when I was a little kid.. no telling how many years it sat on the shelf before my dad told me I should read it.
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Postby Omphalos » Fri Apr 25, 2008 2:08 am

Sorry Serkanner. I forgot about this thread until tonight. Funny though, it feels like I posted here just a day or two ago. I guess that is what age does to you, huh?

AFAI have been able to learn, there were nine printings in Chilton's original edition, not counting the numerous BCE's, which they also ran. Here is how the first nine printings of the first edition of Dune are marked:

1: 1965 (blue boards) (Philadelphia, Toronto Ambassador Books) $5.95
2: April 1968 (green boards) $5.95
3: November 1970 (red boards) (Philadephia, Ontario) $5.95
4: Dec 1972 (red boards)
5: 567890 432109876 $7.95 (red boards)
6: 67890 43210987 $7.95 (red boards) (Radnor PA, Don Mills)
7: 7890 43210987 $7.95 (Radnor PA)
8: 890 43210 $10.95
9: 9012345 7654321 $12.95

I have seen many of these, but not all (I have not seen 2, 4 or 8 ). Some of the notes come from someone else I met on line who told me that they had them all, and e-mailed me pictures, so the content in the list above looks accurate to me. I'm trying to find copies of some of those that I have not seen to verify all the info here, and if I ever do, Ill update this post. I have confirmed with Chilton's historian (who is no longer at that company) and with a historian at Reed Elsevier, who now owns Chilton's rights from 1985 back, that there are only nine printings of the first edition by Chilton. The first four printings of Dune are explicitly stated. For example, the fourth printing reads "Fourth printing, December 1972." The 5th retains "First Edition" language, but also has the number line.

Everything else by Chilton is a BCE. You will know these books right away as the feel significantly lighter than they should feel for a book of that bulk.

I have a matrix of cover measurements around here somewhere, but I cannot locate it.

If you are interested in doing a little sleuthing, and especially if you have a Polish friend, check out this site:

I should have added this to the secondary sources list before tonight, but I forgot. Anyway, many editions are noted there, and if you stare at it long enough, you should figure out how to identify them based on photos alone. A guy named Kwisatz on DN maintains this site, IIRC, but I have not seen him around for some time. If you have questions about the site, contact him.

Another user at T(A)U, Tanzeelat, has the big commercial bibliography by a guy named Levack. That resource has photos of all editions and printings that the bibliographer was able to identify (and actually lay his hands on), so if you have a specific question you may want to run it by him. Here is a link to the Levack book:

Omphalos on T(A)U wrote:Levack, Daniel (with annotations by Willard, Mark), Dune Master: A Frank Herbert Bibliography. 1988, Meckler Publishing, Westport, Conn. ISBN not printed on item. (This is a commercial bibliography, and is reviewed here).

It is available in some large university libraries (here in the US, of course) but you may be able to locate one where you are if you want to see it for yourself. Its very expensive otherwise.

Stephensen-Payne in his bibliography lists only four editions, and has no page marking data at all. Perhaps you original information about the number of printings by Chilton came from this source? If you are interested, I can give you Phil Stephensen-Payne's e-mail address and you can send him a note to ask if he has any more detailed information about original printings since he published in the 1980's. He may, and I have not asked him yet.

Based on what I see there, it looks to me like your green library re-bind is in fact a first/first, though I am confused why it does not say "First Printing," as the second, third and fourth all do. Though it would have little value on the collector's market (at least relatively speaking - It would fetch more than $50 I think, while the BCE is probably valueless in that state), it is what it is to us, and that makes it a treasure. The BCE is not really worthy of fretting over at all, IMHO, but I'm glad that you have it if you are too.
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Postby Serkanner » Fri Apr 25, 2008 5:13 am

Wow! That is a whole lot more information then I expected. Thank you very much Omphalos for taking the time to write this all down. I hope that, besides me, other will also benefit from this information.

I am not sure where I got the info form about there being four prints of the first edition. At the time I didn't save that type of information when I stumbled upon it. I must have been of the impression that site would always remain on-line. :?

When I read your post and compare it with the info I remember reading before, I am also coming to the conclusion I indeed have a First/First. Although its current state is abysmal and will not be to any value ( I suppose ) to any collector; to me it is in-valuable. This book being one of a batch of a few thousand holds for me the promise of the legendary book it later became.

I am also very happy with the BCE I have. They are not easy to find here in Europe and because of its very good condition it looks great in my Dune bookcase. I have a special bookcase dedicated to Dune with all the prints I have as well as the computer games, board games, movies, movie poster ... and of course the DUNE perfume by Christan Dior


:lol:


EDIT: I have managed to open the "Polish" site ... it is from the Czech Republic however :wink:

EDIT2:

Based on what I see there, it looks to me like your green library re-bind is in fact a first/first, though I am confused why it does not say "First Printing," as the second, third and fourth all do.


I have been pondering about this a bit. It would make sense though that the first print of the first edition doesn't state it specifically.

At the time Chilton took quite a gamble by printing this book. The first print batch contained only a few thousand books because they were far from sure they would sell them.

I can imagine that they started mentioning a second, third and fourth print when they indeed started printing those because the book did sell. I will see what Brian Herbert tells about this in his biography.
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Postby Omphalos » Fri Apr 25, 2008 11:44 am

Serkanner wrote:EDIT: I have managed to open the "Polish" site ... it is from the Czech Republic however :wink:

:oops:

Stupid fucking Americans.

Serkanner wrote:Wow! That is a whole lot more information then I expected. Thank you very much Omphalos for taking the time to write this all down. I hope that, besides me, other will also benefit from this information.


No problem, Serkanner. Glad you found it helpful.

Serkanner wrote:I have been pondering about this a bit. It would make sense though that the first print of the first edition doesn't state it specifically.

At the time Chilton took quite a gamble by printing this book. The first print batch contained only a few thousand books because they were far from sure they would sell them.

I can imagine that they started mentioning a second, third and fourth print when they indeed started printing those because the book did sell. I will see what Brian Herbert tells about this in his biography.


You are probably right, but Chilton ordinarily prints auto repair manuals, and its very important to be able to check which edition you have with technical books. I have three Chiltons from the 70's and one from the 80's in my book case, and the two that are first edition are clearly marked also, "first edition, first printing." It may be that the did the novels that Sterling Lanier printed differently (they did one other fantasy book, and Lanier wrote and printed a few of his own SF books on the Chilton presses), but I am confused as to why.

Regardless, the proof is in the pudding. Your edition clearly states the necessary Canadian printing data, and IIRC that is the way you clearly identify a first/first, so I still believe that is what you have there.

Serkanner wrote:I am also very happy with the BCE I have. They are not easy to find here in Europe and because of its very good condition it looks great in my Dune bookcase. I have a special bookcase dedicated to Dune with all the prints I have as well as the computer games, board games, movies, movie poster ... and of course the DUNE perfume by Christan Dior


You should post us a pic of your Herbert shrine. :wink:
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Postby Omphalos » Sat Apr 26, 2008 2:18 am

One other difference in BCE's is that the price is not printed on the outside part of the inner left flap, as it is in commercial books. This is pretty much universally true of all BCE's, even ones where "Book Club Edition" is not printed at the bottom of that same flap.
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Postby inhuien » Sat Apr 26, 2008 10:51 am

What a great collection of Covers that site has thanks Omphalas, even better than.... was it caveof birds or usal.net, ach you know the one i mean.

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