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Dear John:

Is it possible in future to start noting whether or not some books marked "first edition" are in fact "first U.S. edition" after an earlier U.K or elsewhere first edition?

Noted this when I checked the listing for the Ragnar Jonasson's The Darkness... it sounded familiar but the book cover looked new. Checked my copies of Jonasson books and saw that indeed I already had a copy of what was the first U.K edition... and I suspect there was a first Icelandic edition before that.

A simple future change but an important one for those of us who are interested in getting as close to the "true" first as possible.

Thanks for noting.


John replies:

Hi Bob -

This situation seems to come up only with authors living abroad. It's further complicated by the translated editions of the Scandinavian authors. They are becoming more popular and many of these make their first English debut in the UK.

Their situations are as unique as their stories so any standardization of "true first" identification is very difficult (as you have seen) Even the publishers (US, UK and otherwise) are not knowledgeable (or forthcoming) about which edition is the true first (we've asked!).

I think the "purist" has to take responsibility for knowing what they are buying for books by these few authors. The best source for identifying which edition is the true first is probably on the author's website, or you can try googling the title to see if previous editions have been released.

Sorry we couldn't be of more help.

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