My Blog__ Spotting a First Edition

March 02, 2011 | By

Patti Smith and Robert Mapplethorpe on the cover of Just Kids

Last week, I finished reading Patti Smith's memoir, Just Kids. Well, I should say I finished reading Patti Smith's memoir Just Kids on the A Train, where I proceeded to cry in front of a bunch of strangers. Just Kids, which won the National Book Award, touched me--like the hoards of people that have now read it too--and like The Awl writer Maria Bustillos, I was really intrigued when Patti Smith talked about finding rare first editions books in second hand stores.  "One of  most touching things about Patti Smith's memoir Just Kids is the way the author slips into book-scouting lingo when she describes the knack she had for that enjoyable (and revenue-enhancing) pastime in the late '60s and early '70s," Bustillos says, in her article, How to Spot a First Edition.

Bustillo explains, to the best of her ability, how to spot a first edition book--spotting a first edition proves to be a lot more difficult than the ease with which Patti did it (maybe not the best new hobby). There are no publishing standards for first editions and there are always exceptions to the rules. "Even experts are continually fooled as to the authenticity of various books purported to be "firsts," Bustillo says. Nonetheless, the article is still an interesting look at Bibliophilia. (Bustillo will explain.)

Read "How to Spot a First Edition" by Maria Bustillos on The Awl here.

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