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December 2018



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1st edition book covers

AbeBooks.co.uk: First Edition Books

Fascinating to see these dustwrappers on AbeBooks today. I've read twenty one of the books and don't own any of them in a first edition. When it comes to books I collect, though, I always prefer to have a first. In some cases I have two copies of a book; a first without a dustwrapper and a reprint with.

Do you think there's anything special about a first edition? Or will any tatty old paperback do you?


I don't really care about first editions, though I do love books which also happen to be beautiful objects, which many first editions are. Mostly though, I care about the words inside and whether the form of the book makes it easier or harder to read them.
I agree about the beautiful objects and that it's the text which matters. With pet books, I do feel a first somehow brings you closer to the author. Not very logical, I suppose.
I'd love to have some first editions of the classics!
Ooh yes. A first edition Jane Austen would be something worth having.
I have a terrible weakness for first edition hardbacks, preferably with their dust wrappers.
Glad it's not just me!
Well, of course first editions and tatty old paperbacks are on two ends of the scale!

I don't collect first editions per se, although I have a few (and of course I wouldn't say no to a reasonably-priced copy of any of Virginia Woolf's works, for example), but I do love beautiful books. Which is one of the reasons an e-reader does not appeal to me. The only books I can imagine reading in electronic format are thrillers and mysteries and such, because their paper versions usually have ugly designs.
A shelf of first editions in dustwrappers is something to gloat over.

One of the advantages of the Kindle is that I can store so many books on it. I'm out of shelf space and am forever having purges.
At heart, I think I'm a reader first and a collector because of it. The most important thing for me is to get my hands on a story I want to read. Now, I'd prefer it to be a hardback in good condition, but I'm not going to pass on getting a book if it isn't. If I love a book and I can trade up for what I think is a reasonable price, I've started doing that - especially when I know the paperbacks I own have been abridged. Which brings me back to the text, I'd be happier with revised editions.

There's also the consideration for classics that have been published many times and I'm not going to afford an early edition of of finding the most attractive and readable copy.
When it comes to condition, for me it depends on the scarcity of the book. I'll put up with a poor copy of a scarce book but not a common one. I'm a shocker for upgrading when I get the chance and for hanging on to duplicates because they have different dustwrappers. I have three copies of Wish for a Pony, for example. Silly, but that's collecting for you.
Mostly where I have multiple copies, it's because the copy in poorer condition having come to me via family.

Otherwise, I think I'm too tight to be a proper collector :)