A Note on Bibliographic Methods and Terms


Edition: All the copies of a book that were printed from a single setting of type.

Printing: All the copies of a book that were printed at one particular time (i.e., a single print run when the type or plates were not removed from the press).

For example, there were five printings of the first edition of The Big Sleep. The first two printings were made before the official publication date (when the book is released for general sale in bookstores), most likely because advance bookstore orders for the novel exceeded the publisher's expectations and a second print run was ordered. The third printing was produced by Grosset & Dunlap, a firm that specialized in inexpensive reprints. Grosset & Dunlap would lease the original plates from a novel's publisher, print their own versions of the book, and bind it under their own cover. The fourth and fifth printings of The Big Sleep were produced in 1945 and 1946 by Knopf for their Black Widow Thriller line, which featured inexpensive reprints of mystery novels.

The Big Sleep, in other words, was originally set in type in 1939. The stereotype plates from that setting were used to print five different runs of the book: two by Knopf in 1939, one by Grosset & Dunlap in 1940, and two more by Knopf in 1945 and 1946.

When Hamish Hamilton published The Big Sleep in England in 1939, the firm set the book in type themselves, creating the second edition of the novel. Similarly, when Avon bought the paperback rights to the book in 1942, they reset the book in their own smaller format, creating the third edition.

Each item in the checklist is assigned an identification key, using the following format:

    X N1.N2.x

Where,

    X = A letter from A-F indicating the class of the publication (e.g., book, magazine or newspaper article, promotional blurb).

    N1=A number assigned chronologically to each individual work

    N2=A number indicating the edition of that item

    x=A letter indicating the printing of the item

The item A 2.13.c, in otherwords, indicates the third printing of the thirteenth edition of Chandler's second book (Farewell, My Lovely).

    "A" items are all books and pamphlets by the author, including all printings of all editions in the English language.

    "B" items are titles in which the author's work appeared for the first time in book form (e.g. a short story appearing in a collection of stories by various authors).

    "C" items are the first appearances of the author's works in magazines and newspapers (e.g. articles, stories, interviews, letters to the editor).

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