Art & Culture

First Edition Books

Why…What for…How Much?


A first edition is the first run of a book or other printed matter that comes from the printer.  It’s that simple, or is it?

As quoted on eBay :

“First editions hold a special place in the hearts of many bibliophiles for a variety of editions. A first edition book is simply the initial print run of a book, though the definition can get a bit more technical for some works. Whether you are interested in works of classic literature or just an early work from your favorite author, first editions merit a place of honor on your shelves. However, reasons to buy these books vary: for some, it is purely sentimental, for others, it is because of the collector’s value. First editions can be interesting to collect simply to compare the points of difference, sometimes to complete a collection, or even as an investment.”

Let’s take a look at the generally accepted 3 points to collecting First Editions​:

  • Love of the Book….for many of us, especially those of us who grew up reading pages you could turn, a book is a great pleasure. To have one in its very first incarnation is a true delight, bringing back delightful memories.​​​
  • Comparisons…Often times as a book goes through additional printings things change. Words are left out, sometimes added and paragraphs may change through out the text.  Nice to pull the original off the shelf.
  • Collectors Values & Investment…Most First Editions are far more valuable than there younger siblings. I repeat “Most”. Many do not bring large returns but more often than not you will find them a safe and proper investment.

I buy First Editions whenever the price is right and I really like the book and know I want to keep it in my permanent library.  If you adore books and find great enjoyment in the simple act of reading, try buying a first edition and see how pleased you will be with your purchase.

Three pretty great places to get First Editions ( I have used all three)

  • baumanrarebooks.com…the really high end. Great to go and dream
  • bookfinder.com…the place to find rare and first editions that may be affordable.
  • captainsbookshelf.com…great shop to browse (Asheville, N.C.) with used, rare and first editions you can afford.  (I bought Dizzy Gillespie’s autobiography To Be…or not to Bop, here in a hardcover first edition for $25).
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