Tag Archives: Book printings

Concerning Printings and a New Cover

Over the last year or so, I’ve learned a lot about the publishing industry.

I’ve always been a big reader, but I never spent much time wondering where books came from, or how they were made. Even when I started working on my books, I focused on the craft of writing, and not the particulars of getting published.

Because of this, I have weird gaps in my knowledge. For example, I just recently learned how to identify different printings of books.

What’s a printing? Well, when your book first comes out, your publisher takes a look at how many books the booksellers and distributors have ordered. Then the publisher prints enough books to cover those orders, plus some extra to have in the warehouse so that they can fill additional orders. That first printing is, well, the first printing.

These first printings can be of wildly different sizes. The first printing of the last Harry Potter book was huge, of course. While a lot of books by new authors get a very small first printings because the publishers don’t know how well the book is going to sell.

From what I understand, a lot of books only get one printing.

But occasionally, something magical happens. Sometimes people keep buying a book from the stores, so those stores keep having to order more from the distributors. The distributors have to order more from the publisher, and then the publisher prints a new batch of the book: that’s the second printing.

And so on, and so on…

I learned all of that fairly early on, but what I *didn’t* know was how to tell the which printing was which. But now I do…

You know that page early on in the book with all that legal-y information on it?

Here’s the one from my book. As always, guest starring my thumb…

Down here is the important bit.

Here’s the tricky part. The line that says “First Hardcover Printing” doesn’t actually tell you anything about the printing. It’s the numbers underneath. Here all the numbers 1-10 are printed out. That means that this is a first printing.

Here’s the second printing of my book. You can tell because the little number one is missing from the list. (Click the picture to embiggen.)

The fourth printing….

And lastly, the fifth printing:

The fifth printing is actually easier to spot than the other ones, as it has one additional subtle difference:

That’s right. The fifth printing of the hardcover got an awesome new cover. I was really flattered that the publisher would do this. I really like the way it looks.

This means that Shirtless Kvothe and Angry Stone Man are a thing of the past. So hang on to them, folks. In five or ten years you’ll be able to e-bay them and put your kids through college.

Also note that this cover makes it very clear that I am a winner, and that The Name of the Wind is a novel. If you were confused about either of those things, you can rest easier now.

Later,

pat

Posted in book covers, Things I didn't know about publishing | By Pat50 Responses
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