In 1948 James A. Michener won the Pulitzer Prize for Tales of the South Pacific.
PPrize.com - First Edition Points for Pulitzer Prize Book Collectors
What's New at PPrize.com
February 16, 2015
The Preliminary 2015 PPrize Prediction List has just been published.
PPrize.com strives to provide all the details necessary to help you identify first edition Pulitzer Prize for Fiction books. We put together the definitive guide for collectors that includes first edition points of issue for each book, and plenty of pictures to illustrate what to look for. We even provide quick search links for each book to sellers such as eBay and AbeBooks so you can instantly scan the market and see what's being offered. To get started, click on Winner List and browse all of the winning books from 1918 to present, or click on Search to look for a particular Pulitzer Prize winner. If you would like to clarify points one of our entries, please comment or drop us an e-mail message. If you would like to contribute photos, please check out our Photo Submission Guidelines
March 5, 2015
The Good Earth was written by Pearl S. Buck. The first edition was published in 1931 by John Day Company. It was 375 pages long. The Good Earth is an Oprah's Book Club selection.
Here are the first edition points: The copyright page states "COPYRIGHT, 1931, BY PEARL S. BUCK" and there is no mention of subsequent printings. The bottom of the copyright page says "FOR THE JOHN DAY PUBLISHING COMPANY, INC." which was later changed to "FOR THE JOHN DAY COMPANY" late into the first printing, and is found on all subsequent printings. So although the "JOHN DAY PUBLISHING COMPANY" error is the first state, the second state "JOHN DAY COMPANY" is much more scarce. The dust jacket is rare and adds most of the value to the book.
The "flees" for "fleas" typo on page 100 is still present in the third printing, so it was not corrected during the first or second printing. Therefore "flees" is not a first edition point.
Brown top stain is widely believed to be the first state, and green top stain is considered the second state. However, Thomas L. Coffman of TLC Books has performed extensive research on this matter and believes that one does not necessary have priority over the other. He reports the following:
Brown is far more commonly reported, and is on all of my current holdings of first printings (five copies stating John Day Publishing Company and one copy stating John Day Company). The green stain is scarce. It is occasionally reported in combination with "JOHN DAY PUBLISHING COMPANY" but I've never seen or heard of a copy with both "JOHN DAY COMPANY" and the green stain, which would be expected if the green stain appeared systematically later than the brown stain. Priority or precedence of one color stain or the other has no basis in any documentation or logic known to me. I would welcome additional information if it exists. Otherwise, which came first is sheer speculation. I have a second printing with green stain, a second printing with brown stain, and a third printing with green stain.
THE GOOD EARTH, the first in Buck's trilogy THE HOUSE OF EARTH with the 1932 SONS, and the 1935 A HOUSE DIVIDED. It is the only Pulitzer Prize winning novel whose first trade edition is WITHOUT a price on the dust jacket. Even advance issues, identical to the first printing trade dust jacket, are without a price statement. One explanation is that THE GOOD EARTH had a wide international distribution, and that by omitting the price, the publisher permitted foreign markets to assign their own prices in their own currencies by way of affixed stickers.
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How Much is a First Edition Pulitzer Worth?
We provide an estimated value range for each Pulitzer Prize novel. The value is based on current market prices for books that are complete with dust jackets, and that meet all first edition points. Books that are in fine condition and signed by the author typically sell for prices on the high end of the range, while unsigned books in fair condition sell for prices on the low end of the range.
What is a First Edition?
When we say "First Edition" we are really referring to the first printing of the first edition. Publishers print books in large batches called "printings." The first batch is the first printing, the second batch is the second printing, the third batch is the third printing, and so on. The first printing is the most desirable for reasons dating back to metal typesetting days when first printings had the clearest type.
Today, there is no real quality difference between various printings of a particular edition, but the preference for a first printing over subsequent printings remains very strong, and this preference is reflected in the price. The price difference between a first and second printing is like the price difference between gold and silver in the sense that if a first printing sells for $600, a second printing in the same condition may only sell for $16.
Second printings can become valuable, but only in cases when the price of a first printing is astronomical. For example, a second printing of To Kill a Mockingbird can be worth $2,000, but a first printing in similar condition could be worth ten times that amount. In this case the price of a first edition is unaffordable to many people, so they settle for a second printing.
While the price difference between printings can be great, the physical difference between them is often subtle. Sometimes the first printing may have a typo that is fixed in later printings. But sometimes the only distinguishing feature is that one says it is the first printing, while the other says that it is a second printing - and each publisher has a different way of communicating that information. Some publishers will state "First Printing", "Second Printing", "Third Printing," etc. Other publisher may have a special numeric code to indicate printing information. These subtleties are referred to as "points of issue," and we tell you what these points are for each Pulitzer Prize winning book.
Sometimes dust jackets remain identical from one printing to the next, but there are cases where "First Edition" or "First Printing" is stated on the dust jacket. There are other instances where the reviews will be different from one printing to the next. Of course if the dust jacket says that it won the Pulitzer Prize, it is definitely not a first printing because the prize is awarded the year after the book is published. We point out these factors out, and we provide plenty of pictures so you can see what a first printing dust jacket should look like. To get started, click on our Winner List.
In addition to printings of a first edition, there are also other editions that are sometimes mistaken for the first edition. The most notorious are know as Book Club Editions, which mislead many people into believing that they have a valuable first edition book when in fact they have a very common book club edition. We show you what to look for so you can determine if you have a true first edition or a book club edition. Check out our links for more information about book club editions and other reprint editions.
For New Collectors
Check out our Winner List and click on a thumbnail. We show you what a first edition (or first trade edition) looks like, and we give you a launching point to quickly find the book's availability at eBay and AbeBooks. Many of the early Pulitzers are rare, so don't be surprised if you cannot locate a first edition of The Able McLaughlins or Years of Grace (they are always hard to find). Likewise don't be alarmed if you see a first edition of The Grapes of Wrath listed for $15,000. In these cases, there are less expensive alternatives, and we will begin to make note of what they are in the coming months.
This website is not affiliated with "Pulitzer Prizes" or related parties in any way. This site is overseen by an experienced collector of Pulitzer novels as a service to help guide other collectors and give them insight into what to look for when identifying first editions. As such, the information presented here may not always be 100% accurate. Gathering and updating information about these books is more an art than a science. We are very thorough in our investigations of first edition points, but occasionally some of our points may be wrong, and some of our valuation estimates may be out-of-date. If you spot a mistake, drop us an e-mail and we will do our best to investigate and fix it.