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Many modern publishers use a number or letter system to designate first editions. Publishers using this system have numbers or letters similar to 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 or A B C D E where the 1 or the A indicates a first edition. If the 1 is missing as in 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9, then that book is probably a second printing, as designated by the remaining 2. Sometimes you´ll find that numbers appear differently or in reverse as in 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1. Regardless of the way the numbers look, you want to spot the 1 or the A.
There are exceptions; for example, Random House will use the words First Edition in place of the number 1. Thus a Random House book stating ´First Edition´ starting at the number 2 is first edition, first state book.
Don´t write in your books; not even your name, as it lessens their value considerably as collectibles. If you MUST identify your books, use a custom bookplate (not the storebought kind) which you designed yourself (or had professionally done).
Are you a novice book collector? You may already know that Book Club editions are generally worthless to collectors, but how do you identify one? Many are "disguised" as first editions and may seem valuable at first glance. Don´t be fooled! Vist the IBCA´s informational page at http://www.rarebooks.org/bookclub.htm to learn the methods professionals use to identify Book Club editions.
Kathryn Smiley, editor of "Firsts" magazine, was interviewed in the "Official Price Guide to Collecting Books" by Marie Tedford and Pat Goudey.
Her advice to a new collector is, first and foremost, collect what you love. "Book collecting for investment is not a great idea. We never advise anyone to get into book collecting with an eye to making a gazillion dollars, particularly modern books, because it's difficult to predict which ones will be popular down the line."
In general terms, collectible books hold their value well, and even steadily increase. But they do not make good speculative investments, and they're not likely to make you a killing.
The Daily Mail is one of the most popular of the British tabloid newspapers and has been in existence since 1896. Its politics tend toward the conservative and it has been criticized at times for espousing "pseudoscience" subjects like astrology, alien abductions and the paranormal in general. To commemorate their 50th anniversary in 1946, the paper published the Golden Jubilee Book of the Daily Mail. It was quite widely distributed and remains quite common in the used book trade. A copy in excellent condition would probably sell for around $20.