To make the book really handy for buyers and booksellers, McBride has released it, as he has with many former editions, in a pocket-sized format. At 6”x 3.75” and 141 pp. it fits easily into pocket, purse, or hand. Even more convenient for desktop use is the e-Book edition, which will be available soon. I keep an earlier edition on my computer desktop and it is continuously used during cataloging — my real desktop being frequently unusable because of well, piles of stuff on it, and these books easily disappear under the debris.
The book covers 5835 publishers — more than ten times its original size. McBride has brought his son, Ross McBride, into the business, a now fourth-generation bookseller and second-generation first edition scholar. Tens of thousands of copies sold later, the Guide has become a staple of the bookselling and book collecting community, and for good reason.
Along with it, McBride offers “Points of Issue: A Compendium of Points of Issue of Books by 19th-20th Century Authors.” These are carefully selected based upon their track record of being collectible and are compiled from records taken from dealer catalogs, bibliographies, and other source material. Points of Issue specifically identifies changes in the production of the first printing which occur during the first printing process. As McBride notes, “there are, in some cases, as many as four states of the first edition, each with a differing value.” A near-unique reference work, Points of Issue identifies the first state of the book.
“Book Collecting for Fun and Profit” is also available on McBride’s web site, www.mcbridepublisher.com. This is an e-Book, available as a .pdf published in 2002. While a bit dated, it covers all the major elements of book selling and collecting, and is a bargain at the $12.95 price. Earlier discounted editions of McBride’s works are also available.
Whether a bookseller or collector, or both, the very first question you ask is whether a book is a first edition. The very first place to turn to for the most reliable answer is McBride’s Pocket Guide.
Renée Magriel Roberts can be reached at email@example.com.