(From A Pocket Guide to the Identification of First Editions by Bill McBride)
Edition, Printing, Impression
An edition is the number of books printed before a certain percentage of the contents is revised. A printing is the number of copies produced when the printing plates or type are on the press. An impression is the same thing as a printing.
To the book collector, a first edition means a copy from the first printing of the first edition.
To the publisher, a first edition may mean any copy of a title before it was substantially revised.
When you read on the copyright page First and second printings before publication, it means that before the book was actually released for sale, “published,” orders from booksellers exceeded the quantity of the first printing and the book had to be reprinted. Such a copy is not a book collector’s first edition.
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