Identifying a Book Club edition
( or when a 'first' is NOT a 'first' )
Has it ever happened to you? You are looking at the copyright page of a book and you see all the indications that it is a first edition. Heck, it even says so on the copyright page! So it must be, right? NOT ALWAYS! It could be the dread book club edition, masquerading as a trade first. Many people selling books on the internet (and especially eBay) don't have a clue that what they are calling a first edition is really a book club edition.
In general, book club editions are issued by a book club to its members. This book club edition may or may not be part of a special edition, but because some book club editions are taken from the first printing of the trade edition, it is not uncommon to mistake that book club edition for a true trade first edition. Let's make sure that mistake isn't made by you! Here are some obvious points to consider for various book club editions you may come across.
Book-of-the-Month ClubŪ Editions -
1) BOMC editions can usually be identified by a small circle or dot or other mark either printed (earlier) or indented (more recent) on the lower right-had corner of the back cover board. If it has this, beware!
2) Does the jacket carrier a price? If not, beware!
3) Are the top page edges inked? If not, beware!
4) Recent BOMC editions have a very tiny alphanumeric string printed vertically in the gutter of the last few pages of the book.
5) Are there small, decorative cloth bands fastened inside the top and possibly the bottom of the spine (called headbands)? BOMC editions LACK these headbands.
6) BOMC editions often 'feel' different. They may be made with lower quality paper stock and/or board stock, so they may be slightly lighter in weight.