Copy of a copy of a copy of copy...
July 5, 2010 6:01 PM   Subscribe

How can I tell if the copy of McSweeney's Quarterly #1 sitting on my shelf is a first printing or one of the subsequent reprints?

I'm not entirely sure why I care, but apparently I do, uncomfortably so. I've dug around the web-- it looks like there were three printings, 1998, 2002, and... some time later. It looks like the third printing is stated on the back, but I can't find anything about the second.

Any ideas? Does anybody have a copy of this from the 2002 run laying around, that can check to see if there's any identifying features? Aren't there resources for stuff like this (people collect books, right?)
posted by cosmonaught to Media & Arts (17 answers total)
If the third printing is stated on the back, your copy wouldn't be the first or second printing, because they wouldn't have that information on the first or second printing.

posted by alex_skazat at 6:15 PM on July 5, 2010

Response by poster: Sorry, I worded that strangely-- from digging around the web, I can see that the third printing is stated. Mine doesn't have a printing stated, so I'm assuming it's either a first or second.
posted by cosmonaught at 6:18 PM on July 5, 2010

The second printing of 1-3 has "Second Printing - November 2002" on the back -- at least, on the back of #3. (My set is still shrinkwrapped.)
posted by holgate at 6:40 PM on July 5, 2010

Is there any copyright information towards the front of the publication? I know most books are well-detailed in this area (noting "first published in 1995, reprinted in 1998" or whatnot), whereas records and CDs can be re-printed/re-pressed in subsequent years without any new copyright information, and I don't really know where magazines fall within this spectrum of information clarification.
posted by filthy light thief at 6:43 PM on July 5, 2010

Response by poster: Holgate-- thanks, that's a good sign.

FLT-- The copyright page shows 1998 and has a full numberline, but these were put out as sort of replica reprints, so I think there's a good chance they would have duplicated that, as well.
posted by cosmonaught at 6:55 PM on July 5, 2010

(And just so you have an idea of where to look, it's on #3 on the bottom left of the back cover, just to the left of the barcode.)
posted by holgate at 7:04 PM on July 5, 2010

Response by poster: Hmm... no barcode on #1, but there definitely isn't a "second printing" hiding anywhere, either.
posted by cosmonaught at 7:07 PM on July 5, 2010

The original #1 from 1998 has a barcode on the back.
posted by plastic_animals at 7:16 PM on July 5, 2010

Response by poster: Never mind, I lied-- yes, I have a barcode; no, I don't have a "Second Printing."
posted by cosmonaught at 7:49 PM on July 5, 2010

Does it have an ISBN number? You might get info that way. Or maybe if you know someone with that iPhone app that checks barcode, you could look it up that way (not sure if it would work, but could be fun to try).
posted by ishotjr at 8:38 PM on July 5, 2010

My edition of #1 has 1998 printed on the cover (very bottom), on the spine, and on the credits page.
posted by Gilbert at 8:47 PM on July 5, 2010

So does mine, Gilbert -- spine/cover, dunno credits, for reasons stated above.
posted by holgate at 9:24 PM on July 5, 2010

Best answer: I have a copy of the second printings, out of shrinkwrap (they are to read, you know), and all three have "Second printing -- Nov. 2002) on the back cover. If you don't have that, it's a firstie.
posted by rikschell at 5:56 AM on July 6, 2010

Response by poster: Great! Thanks, rikschell (and everyone else, of course)!
posted by cosmonaught at 6:16 AM on July 6, 2010

For future searchers, ISBNs don't change across printings, unless the content has significantly changed (new title, X% new material, new art [sometimes]).

Also, the full number line will always appear on the copyright page, but the numbers will be in a different order, indicating print run as well.
posted by peanut_mcgillicuty at 6:58 AM on July 6, 2010

Response by poster: Usually with number lines, I see a number removed for each printing, so a first would look like:
1 3 5 7 9 8 6 4 2
a second:
3 5 7 9 8 6 4 2
and so on...
posted by cosmonaught at 7:34 AM on July 6, 2010

(they are to read, you know)

(I've been busy the past eight years.)
posted by holgate at 1:11 PM on July 6, 2010

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