The publisher has confirmed that there were softcover and hardcover first editions that were published simultaneously. There were approximately 3,500 softcover copies in the first printing, and probably 1,250 hardcovers. Book Passage Bookstore orderd 250 hardcovers for their first edition club members from a printing that they believed to be 500 copies. The other 250 of these copies were likely distributed to other book stores in the west coast. There was also another issue of the hardcover produced for Powell's Books. The Powell's hardcovers were issued with a special numbered page as part of their "Indiespensable" subscribers series. The special page indicates that there were 750 of these books printed. It is not at all clear which hardcover issue preceeds the other. The publisher maintains that they all were published at the same time; and this is supported by the fact that the copyright page number lines are identical on both issues.
The copyright page on the softcover is also identical to that of the hardcover. FIRST EDITION is stated above a full number line "1 3 5 7 9 8 6 4 2", and below two ISBNs - one for the softcover (978-1-934137-12-3 pbk) and one for the hardcover (978-1-934137-19-2 hc). There are four reviews on the back of both editions - by Marilynne Robinson, Barry Unsworth, Elizabeth McCracken, and Publishers Weekly. The front of the softcover repeats the first four words of the Marilynne Robinson review. The front of the hardcover lacks this tout. The price on the hardcover dust jacket it $25.00. There should be no mention of the Pulitzer Prize anywhere on the first editions.
Caution: We have now seen what appears to be print-on-demand softcover editions sold by Amazon. These also state FIRST EDITION and they have a complete number line. However it appears that they are using the copyright page from the Advance Reader's Copy which states that it was first published in 2008 on the top, lacks the hardcover ISBN near the bottom, and is missing a statement of support by the Lucius N. Littauer Foundation in the middle. These print-on-demand edtions state "WINNER of the PULTIZER PRIZE" on the front cover, and state the exact date they were printed on the last page.
Tinkers book won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.
To find the market value for this book, click on the pre-filled eBay, AbeBooks, or Biblio links to the right and look for comparable listings that have all of these first edition points.
The front cover from the first edition hardcover of Tinkers.
This is the copyright page from the first edition hardcover of Tinkers. Notice that it lists ISBNs for both the softcover and the hardcover. The copyright page from the softcover is identical.
The dust jacket from the first edition hardcover of Tinkers has a price of $25.00 found on the front flap.
This is the dust jacket back of the first edition hardcover of Tinkers.
This is the boards from the first edition hardcover of Tinkers.
This is the back dust jacket flap from the first edition hardcover of Tinkers.
This is the title page from the first edition hardcover of Tinkers that was distributed by Powell's. The illustration of the clock parts was inserted by Powell's. It is the back of their limited edition page.
This is the limited edition page from the hardcover distributed by Powell's Books. (The number has been obscured by request of the book's owner.)
This is the front of the first edition softcover, which touts the first four words of the Marilynne Robinson review from the back cover.
This is the copyright page from the first edition softcover. Notice that it lists ISBNs for both the softcover and the hardcover. The copyright page from the hardcover is identical and likewise, it also lists both ISBNs.
This is the back of the first edition softcover.
This copyright page from the Advance Reader Copy is different from the first edition. It shows only a single ISBN for the softcover. This is consistent with reports that the original intention was to publish only a softcover. But then the publisher decided to produce a small quantity of hardcovers, and to publish both the softcover and hardcover simultaneously.
This print-on-demand softcover edition is obviously a later printing but it has a copyright page identical to that of the Advance Reader's Copy including a statement of FIRST EDITION and a complete number line. However it is easily identified as a later printing by the "WINNER of the PULTIZER PRIZE" statement on the front cover.
This print-on-demand edition has a full number line on the copyright page, however, it also states the exact date is was printed on the last page which makes it evident that it is in fact a later printing.
The first edition dust jacket has no mention of the Pulitzer Prize. Later issue dust jackets are printed with "WINNER of the PULITZER PRIZE" on the front.
The first edition boards are blue/green with silver lettering. Later printing boards are green with gold lettering.
April 12, 2010, 7:57 pm
We need photos of the hardcover edition! If you have one please send photos.
April 12, 2010, 10:12 pm
Attached are photographs of the hardcover edition of "Tinkers".
April 12, 2010, 10:32 pm
April 17, 2010, 11:32 am
A story about Harding and Bellevue Press on NPR today confirmed that the first printing was 3,500, but then later indicated that 15,000 copies were published prior to the award announcement due to the buzz that the book received. Honestly, 1st edition PBs seemed too easy to find in the hours after the Pulitzer was announced (I got one each at two different Borders bookstores) if there were really only 3,500 printed, particularly since the orignial release date for the book was January 2009. Borders doesn't keep new books that aren't blockbusters on the shelf that long, seems to me. I'm wondering if the additional 11,500 copies are also indicated as first printings, or whether they are second printings. Anyone seen a PB that isn't indicated as a 1st printing?
April 17, 2010, 12:19 pm
And, I guess, the follow question is if the additional 11,500 printings are identified as first printings, are there any difference between the orignial 3,500 and the second group?
April 18, 2010, 10:23 pm
Actually, Borders keeps books that long all the time (I used to work there). You can check the date the book was brought into stock by a date coded onto their price sticker (along with the qty checked in) -- the first printing softcover of Tinkers that I bought the day of the PP announcement had been checked into my local Borders all the way back when it was first published in January 2009.
I'm pretty sure the 15,000 copies NPR referred to are for multiple printings, tagged as such. Last year at Book Expo America (so, May of 2009), I was at Consortium's booth were they had a signed third printing of the paperback (designated with a 3 as the low number) -- so they were beyond the number 1 marker all the way back then. Hope this helps!
April 20, 2010, 10:56 pm
That does help, thanks. I'm surprised (but grateful!) that Borders keeps books like Tinkers on their shelves that long, they were a Godsend as I sped around town trying to find copies after the announcement!
April 21, 2010, 12:57 pm
Same here! I've actually relied on Borders quite a few times for those small run first editions that I want to find, oh, 10-14 months after publication! I think it helps when they only get in a few copies at each store, so it's a small dollar amount to them and a return isn't going to put that much money back into their coffers . . . just a guess though.
April 23, 2010, 12:51 pm
I just received my Tinkers softcover from Amazon. It has a gold circle with "WINNER of the PULITZER PRIZE" on the cover, says " Made in the USA, Charleston, SC, 19 April 2010" on the bottom of the last page, but also says "FIRST EDITION" and has the full "135798642" (with only the softcover ISBN) on the copyright page. My friend got one from Amazon with an identical copyright page, but his last page says "Made in the USA, Lexington, KY, 21 April 2010". Is it being printed to order (with first edition/first printing marks)? Is this an Amazon-only edition (bn.com says they won't have it until May 14)?
April 23, 2010, 2:51 pm
Looks like Amazon is selling print-on-demand editions that have the same copyright page as the Advance Reader's Copy - full number line, but only one ISDN. I added a paragraph about this on the top of this page. Photos are coming soon...
April 27, 2010, 10:34 pm
A recent ebay auction had a 1st/1st hardcover copy unsigned. It was packaged with three other PP winners. I read that the 500 hcs for Book Passage's first editions club sold out quickly and an additional 500 hc were printed (I've seen the comment about the additional 500 just once, so is it true?). Mr Harding was brought to CA for readings and signings. The original 500 were not pre-signed as I understand it. Mike, I have also read that a total of 15,000 copies have been produced to date and that an additional printing of hardcovers is in the works. Good collecting luck to everyone.
April 27, 2010, 11:21 pm
I was thinking the same thing when I started seeing unsigned first printing hardcovers. I believe that there were probably more than the 750 for Powell's and the 500 for the Book Passages first edition club. As far as the 15,000 copies are concerned: The were 3,500 softcover firsts, then there was definitely a second printing of the softcover out before the announcement, and perhaps a third. So I think all of these probably go into the 15,000 number.
May 1, 2010, 3:49 pm
Just a word about Borders...they always seem to have at least one copy of 1st/1st of many popular and recent books among the stacks of subsequent printings. I know that no person alive will have any luck whatsoever finding a "Tinkers" this way (for sure), but I have purchased many, many other 1st/1sts---even on the bargain display that go back quite a few years.
May 14, 2010, 11:06 am
I know that Bellevue ordered more hardcover copies of Tinkers after the Pulitzer announcement, but do you know if a second printing hardcover of Tinkers existed on the day of the Pulitzer? And if not, do you know when the second printings will be available from the press? I just wonder, if you buy a hardcover of Tinkers online today, can you assume that it's from the first print run?
May 14, 2010, 11:56 am
Not sure. But I went ahead and got one for 20 bucks. I figure if it's a second printing, it can be a placeholder because there is no way I'm spending $1,200 for a sure-thing in the near future. There is also a chance that the publisher might not update the copyright page, and then there will be a ton of hardcovers with full number lines. I guess I will find out...
May 14, 2010, 12:20 pm
I did the same. At the very least, I just spent $20 on a book I want to read. At the most, I just made a decent investment.
May 29, 2010, 7:46 am
My book finally arrived. 5th Printing. At least the publisher got rid of the First Edition statement that they had on the second printing.
Disclaimer: This website is intended to help guide you and give you insight into what to look for when identifying first editions. The information is compiled from the experience of reputable collectors and dealers in the industry. Gathering and updating information about these books is more an art than a science, and new points of issue are sometimes discovered that may contradict currently accepted identification points. This means that the information presented here may not always be 100% accurate. If you spot a mistake, drop us an e-mail and we will do our best to investigate and correct it.