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Dear John:

I just got four signed first editions from you but only one says "First Edition" on the title page. Please explain. Also, I have a signed first of Michael Crichton's first book in leather, still in the original shrink wrap. Any idea what it is worth?" (Tom, GA)

John responds:

"Different publishers use different conventions to identify First Editions. Very few use the words "First Edition." We highly recommend McBride's Pocket Guide to Identification of Modern First Editions. It is handy to have around until you have memorized the nuances of each publisher.

The Andromeda Strain? If this is the book you are referring to, it is not technically his first book. Odds On was Michael Crichton's first published novel. It was released in 1966 under the pseudonym of John Lange. It is a short 215-page paperback novel which describes an attempt of robbery in an isolated hotel on Costa Brava. However, The Andromeda Strain is the first published under his real name. The true first edition was published by Knopf in 1969, and a clean collectible copy is worth about $200. In 2003 Easton Press published a signed edition (not technically the 1st, so a 1st thus). This book commands slightly less than the Knopf edition.

Good reading!

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