Bill McBride’s Pocket Guide to the Identification of First Editions details the methods over 4,600 different publishers use to identify their first editions. For many years McBride has worked tirelessly to get the latest information, and the latest edition, the 7th, was published in 2012, so it’s very up to date.
It’s super easy to use, and small and light enough to fit in your pocket on book hunting trips.
Unsure whether that book at the library sale, thrift or used bookstore is a first edition? Just take a look the details on its copyright page, then pull this guide out of your pocket or purse, flip to the (alphabetized) listing for the publisher in question and – voila! – you’ll instantly have your answer. So simple.
If you buy online, it’s also great for verifying the book descriptions of sellers who claim the book they’re selling is a first edition.
I’m both a bookseller (since 2000) and collector (since the 1980s) and have found this book to have been very useful over the years. And, for even more information on first editions, check out McBride’s book, Points of Issue.
Your newfound ability to distinguish first editions from later printings will likely allow you to recoup the cost of this book very quickly!