We thought we would do a little tutorial this week on the issue of editions and printings relating to books. Why? Because we often have customers trying to figure out if they have read a particular book or not before - and much of the confusion relates to when a book is reprinted, has a new cover or binding (hardback to paperback generally), or claims to be a new edition.
Whoa! Just before we hit the send button on this weekly update, a new book just arrived that should be of interest to the growing number of people interested in the evolution of dogs entitled Dogs - Their Fossil Relatives and Evolutionary History by Xiaoming Wang and Richard Tedford. This is a fascinating academic study, well illustrated, of the origin and evolution of canids over the past 40 million years. This book is so new that we are not even sure of its long term availability yet, however we are trying to make arrangements to insure we have a steady supply - please bear with us if we run out over the short run while we get our act together on what should be a very popular book.
If you happen across a book you have read before that has a new cover, is now available in paperback, or has a notice that it is a new printing (something publishers like to brag about), you can be pretty sure that it is the same book with the same content. So that's easy. If you come across a book that claims to be a new edition (second, third, etc.), it is a little trickier in that our experience is that all publishers do not define a "new edition" in quite the same way. Our stance here at Dogwise is that a new edition should have substantial amounts of new information - at least 25% of the book being new material. So in that sense, you really "have not read this book before" if you don't have the latest edition. However, some authors and publishers will call something a new edition even with just minimal changes, or they will call any new print run a new edition even if there are no changes! One way to check on this is to look at the Verso page in a book - this is the page that is usually right after the Title page, almost always a left hand side page. Check for the copyright symbol - if there are more than one copyright symbols followed by different dates - then you can be assured that it is indeed a new edition, unfortunately you can't always know how much new information is included.
Here are some great books that are in their second (or more) editions - if you have only read the first edition, you are missing out on new information!
Thanks from all of us at Dogwise.
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