PPrize.com - First Edition Points for Pulitzer Prize Book Collectors

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What's New at PPrize.com

April 14, 2017
With the 2017 prize announced, it is time to begin discussing the 2018 Predictions.

April 10, 2017
The 2017 Prediction List was very accurate this year. The number one pick was the winner, and the third and tenth on the list were the finalists. Congratulations to Mike for his brilliant regression analysis efforts.

About PPrize.com
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

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Today's Featured Book:
To Kill a Mockingbird

June 13, 2021

To Kill a Mockingbird was written by Harper Lee. The first edition was published in 1960 by Lippincott. It was 296 pages long, and the retail price was $3.95.

First edition Points: This book is in high demand. Approximately 5,000 first printings were produced. "FIRST EDITION" is stated on the copyright page. Boards are brown with green cloth spine.

A first edition dust jacket has no statement of printing and has a price of $3.95 on the lower corner of the front flap. There appears to be two states of the first edition dust jacket. One state has two reviews on the back flap - by Shirley Ann Grau and Phyllis McGinley. We have seen only one of these. The other state dust jacket has a single Jonathan Daniels review, and we have seen many of these. Both states have the Capote blurb in green, the $3.95 price, and no printing statement on the front flap. They both have the author's photo on the back panel. They are identical except for the back flap reviews.

There has been significant debate about the order of the states. The case for the Grau/McGinley state being first is that the Grau and McGinley reviews were replaced by the Daniels blurb on the stated second printing of the dust jacket. Also, an early advertisement establishes that Grau and McGinley read advance copies and "poured out their enthusiasm... weeks before publication of the book". The case for the Daniels state being first is that normally blurbs for a first book progress from obscure reviewers to more famous ones as a book becomes more popular. So it raises questions of the why the publisher would change blurbs from two well known authors to one lesser known minister. This is supported by the fact that the Grau review returns to the back flap, and the McGinley review to the front flap of the seventh printing.

The Jonathan Daniels who wrote the dust jacket review was not Jonathan Myrick Daniels, the Episcopal seminarian killed for his civil rights work in 1965. Rather, the review was written by Jonathan Worth Daniels, who at the time was the editor of the Raleigh News and Observer. Jonathan Worth Daniels was an author and an outspoken supporter of civil rights. He also served as press secretary for Franklin D. Roosevelt and Harry S. Truman. Jonathan Worth Daniels was hardly obscure.

While the stated second printing dust jackets have the Daniels review, we have found that the stated third printing jackets have the Grau/McGinley reviews.

In 1960, To Kill a Mockingbird was issued by at least four book clubs. One of these was the Book-of-the-Month Club (BOMC), which differs from other book clubs by producing books of the same quality and design as the trade editions. BOMC issues of Mockingbird have the same green cloth backing and brown-papered boards as the trade editions, but the well-known BOMC indentation is added to the back cover. The BOMC does NOT have the Capote photograph of Lee on the rear panel. Earlier book club editions (BCEs) do have the desired photograph on the rear panel, but the books are thinner and of cheaper material and of at least three different cover designs.

The first edition does not have a "W" on the copyright page. However, many people write and ask what the "W" means on their later printing copies. We cannot support the common thought that it is a book club indicator. Although we certainly have seen it on BOMC editions, we have also consistently found it on the seventh through thirteenth printings of the genuine Lippincott trade editions (priced dust jackets and no book club indicators). Consequently the presence of the "W" is not an accurate indicator of the BOMC or any other book club edition. So what does the "W" mean? We don't know. We have never seen it on the first through sixth printings, nor have we seen it on the fourteenth through twenty-first printings. One possible explanation is that is a printing-plant indicator.

Signed first printings of the first edition command the highest value. But unsigned first printings are extremely valuable as well. Second printings are very rare and have high value. Book club and anniversary copies are common. Click here for photos...



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.



Disclaimer


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.



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