Identifying First Edition Beginner Books
A couple of years ago I posted a series of blog articles which provided identification points for the first fifty Beginner Books, and later collected them into one permanant webpage (see Identifying First Edition Beginner Books).
The articles included identification points for each book, and provided the publication sequence along with the back dust jacket graphic. In essence the titles listed on the back of the dust jacket are the key to identifying most of the early Beginner Books. These articles were the first time identification points were posted for this set of Beginner Books.
While the articles centered upon the publication sequence of the dust jacket backs, they did not provide a good navigational method to each book, and today’s post is purposed to correct the oversight.
Accessible First Edition Identification Points Helps The Hobby
Book collectors and booksellers tend to shy away from books without documented first edition identification points, or in cases where the identification points are not well understood. There is too much risk buying or selling the unknown collectible.
Over the past three years book collector and bookseller interest has increased in the non-Seuss first edition Beginner Books (the Younger/Hirsch Guide To First Edition Dr. Seuss books helped the hobby with the Seuss first edition Beginner Books). People have become more confident buying and selling first edition Beginner Books. The market for the later printings is also more robust.
One of my underlying purposes for this blog and the parent web site is to make first edition idenfication points more transparent and accessible for contemporary American picturebooks. In the long run I strongly believe this will strengthen the hobby.
Many traditional booksellers are not in agreement with this philosophy, since they profit from their proprietary knowledge of first edition identification points:
- Book collectors must rely upon them for this proprietary information.
- Proprietary knowledge of first edition identification points is a competitive advantage over less well-informed booksellers.
- Less scrupulous booksellers can make a windfall profit by purchasing books from a less informed public
(Note: In open shop transactions, by rules of the trade, offers from reputable booksellers will be wholesale market prices for first edition books, even if the seller is unaware of the issue of their holdings.)
This traditional thinking impairs the hobby of collecting first edition American picturebooks. Proprietary and possessive ownership of first edition identification points:
- Limits the number of collectors who want to participate in the hobby.
- Limits the number of booksellers who want to participate in the hobby.
- Reduces the liquidity of first edition picturebooks.
- Suppresses the price/value of first edition picturebooks.
More people will enter the hobby as they learn first edition picturebooks are valuable collectibles. The books have a familiarity to a large number of people, and picturebooks are very accessible – most can be read and appreciated in moments. And we will continue our small part to promote the hobby.
Click on the front cover image, below, to the respective page for first edition identification points for each Beginner Book.