How many books are an edition? - Newport Paper House


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How many books are an edition?

When we go to buy a book, sometimes we find that it has a label that marks that it is the "2nd edition" or the "4th edition". But what exactly does it mean that the book at hand is not the first edition? Or how many books are an edition? To begin with, we must differentiate between edition and reprint. Although edition is commonly used to refer to a reprint, these terms do not mean the same thing.

A literary edition consists of a set of copies of a work printed at one time. A book can have one or more editions or reprints. The edition or reprint number is always marked on the book. An edition is not equivalent to a specific number of copies. Publishers freely decide how many copies correspond to each edition depending on the sales estimate.

 Differences between edition and reprint

A reprint consists of printing more copies when the existing copies of a book are sold out. In a reprint, no changes are made to the book or the text, nor is a new ISBN requested. More books are only printed so they can continue to sell them. This is often confused with a new edition, as many publishers call an edition what is actually a new reprint of the book.

Instead, a new edition means a new ISBN request and implies major changes to the book. Each publisher decides how many copies a book edition has, since it is not something regulated or established. Without knowing the publisher we cannot establish an edition of how many books there are because these numbers depend on the popularity of the book or the author as well as the estimated collection and sales of the book.

What do the editions of a book mean?

Edits to a book mean that significant changes have been made to the book. These can be both in the text and in its format or binding. Editions are used to tell the reader that there have been changes to the book from when it was first published.

So, what types of changes must a book have in order for it to imply a new edition?

The changes to consider that what we have in hand is a new edition must affect the content of the book. They can add information to the book through a foreword or a new introduction that did not exist when it was first printed.

When a book has changed its format; first it was published in a hard cover and later a new edition was made in a paperback, even if only the binding changed, we can already talk about a new edition. If it goes to a digital edition, we will also talk about a new edition of the book. And if the changes affect the cover of the book, this also implies a new edition.

If, as we have said, the book only needs to print more copies of one of the editions because they have run out, what is done is to reprint. The reason for requesting a new ISBN must not be justified, so any publisher or author can request it at any time.

How to know how many editions a book has?

To know how many editions a book has, we only have to open the book by the print data page. On this page, in addition to the rights of the book, we find the name of the publisher, the printing date and the edition and printing number of the book. In this way, it is easy to know how many editions a book has. What is less common is that we know how many books are in an edition and this information depends on the publisher and is not always publicly disclosed.

Books backed by famous prizes such as the Premio Planeta have large circulations because the popularity of the prize predicts a large number of sales. In contrast, a small independent publisher may run a run of no more than 200 copies. The most popular authors may have books with a first edition of more than 10,000 copies if their publishers anticipate that they will sell fairly easily.

Digital printing of books

The digital printing of books has contributed to lower print runs. Publishers no longer have to run large print runs to get a competitive print price like they did with offset printing. Digital printers like Printcolor offer very competitive prices with smaller print runs. In this way, unnecessary book stock quantities are reduced. Self-publishing has seen in digital printing a good opportunity to print the books that an author considers necessary.

Why do we call a reprint an edition?

Using the term edition and not reprint is a marketing strategy. Many publishers consider it more striking to say that an author has already sold out of an edition, since it is believed that it implies many sales. Even so, we cannot know exactly how many copies an edition of books has. Nor can we know if having run out of copies implies having sold many books or not because we do not know the number of copies of each edition. Publishers often inflate the number of editions so that future readers will think the book has been liked and want to read it.

Types of book editions

Once we have resolved how many books are in an edition, what the editions of a book mean and how many copies an edition of books has. We can talk about types of book editions. Each publisher and editor decides how they want to publish their books and what type of edition they prefer for each title. There are many types of editions depending on their characteristics:

      Pocket edition: they are characterized by their reduced format and economic price.

      Deluxe Edition: Unlike the paperback edition, this one is printed with high-quality materials, which makes it a premium price.

      Special edition: copies with some particularity in the print run, such as the author's signature or another notable aspect.

      Illustrated edition: contains illustrations that complement the text of the book.

      Official edition: they receive the authorization of the State that bears the costs.

      Headless edition: book without cover or title.

      Commented edition: contains annotations at the bottom of the page.

      Facsimile edition: reproduces the work without modifications, respecting the original text.

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