Home > First Editions

Breathing Lessons by Anne Tyler

The Signed First Edition series gave readers a way to have a signed book from authors that might otherwise be inaccessible ... Continue reading

Anne Tyler & Eudora Welty

“If I could have written the last line of Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant, I'd be happy for the rest of my life!” -Eudora Welty ... Continue reading

The Wide Net and Other Stories by Eudora Welty
While Eudora Welty composed “A Still Moment,” one of eight stories in The Wide Net, the noise of World War II surrounded her ... Continue reading

A Christmas Memory by Truman Capote A Christmas Memory

by Truman Capote

Price: $1,000.00
A de Grummond Primer A de Grummond Primer : Highlights of the Children's Literature Collection

Edited by Carolyn J. Brown, Ellen Hunter Ruffin, and Eric L. Tribunella

Price: $45.00
A Sight for Sore Eyes by Ruth Rendell A Sight for Sore Eyes

by Ruth Rendell

Price: $40.00
A Theory of Love Margaret Bradham Thornton A Theory of Love

by Margaret Bradham Thornton

Price: $27.99
A Window to Heaven A Window to Heaven

by Patrick Dean

Price: $27.95
Against All Odds by Alex Kershaw Against All Odds

by Alex Kershaw

March 2022

Price: $50.00
Anything You Say Can and Will Be Used Against You by Laurie Lynn Drummond Anything You Say Can and Will Be Used Against You

by Laurie Lynn Drummond

Price: $30.00
August by Callan Wink August

by Callan Wink

July 2020

Price: $50.00
Back When We Were Grownups Anne Tyler Back When We Were Grownups

by Anne Tyler

Price: $50.00
Benediction by Kent Haruf Benediction

by Kent Haruf

Price: $100.00
Betty Betty

by Tiffany McDaniel

August 2020

Price: $50.00
Bird of Paradise by Vicki Covington Bird of Paradise

by Vicki Covington

Price: $35.00
Blackberry Fox Blackberry Fox

by Kathrin Tordasi, translated by Cathrin Wirtz

June 2024 | Middle Grade

Price: $17.99
Bridge to Bat City Bridge to Bat City

by Ernest Cline

April 2024 | Middle Grade

Price: $17.99
Butterfly Stories by William T. Vollmann Butterfly Stories

by William T. Vollmann

Price: $75.00
Caleb's Crossing  by Geraldine Brooks Caleb's Crossing

by Geraldine Brooks

Price: $50.00
Christmas in Plains by Jimmy Carter Christmas in Plains

by Jimmy Carter

Price: $100.00
Closing Time by Joseph Heller Closing Time

by Joseph Heller

Price: $75.00
Coyote Lost and Found Coyote Lost and Found

by Dan Gemeinhart

March 2024 | Middle Grade

Price: $17.99
Damn Lucky by Kevin Maurer Damn Lucky

by Kevin Maurer

May 2022

Price: $29.99
Elf Dog and Owl Head by M.T. Anderson, illustrated by Junyi Wu Elf Dog and Owl Head

by M.T. Anderson
illustrated by Junyi Wu

May 2023 | Middle Grade

Price: $18.99
Exhale by David Weill Exhale

by David Weill

Price: $27.00
Finch House by Ciera Burch Finch House

by Ciera Burch

September 2023 | Middle Grade

Price: $17.99
Frailties by Nancy Geyer Frailties

by Nancy Geyer

Price: $30.00
Gargoyle Gargoyle

by Andrew Davidson

Price: $80.00

What is a first edition?

Technically, a first edition is a printing of books in which the typesetting has not been changed. The binding may even have been changed but as long as the type has not been changed the book is still a first edition. For example, first editions of Go Down Moses by William Faulkner (1942) can be found in red, blue and black cloth bindings. This was because of a shortage of materials during World War II.

The way to identify a modern first edition is to begin with the copyright page which can be found on the back of the title page. Often "First Edition" or "First Printing" will be noted but modern publishers will note the series of printings. In order to be considered a first edition, it must be the first printing of the first edition. The printings are noted through a series of ascending numbers on the copyright page. The first example represents a first edition, first printing:

9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

A second printing:
9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2
And so on.

This is the most basic way to identify modern American and British first editions. However, once you start looking you will find there are many exceptions to this basic method. Publishers appear to take pride in making the identification of first editions complicated and diverse. Over time, you will learn the different notations and can always ask for the assistance of a bookseller or fellow collector.

What is a first edition?

The term "first edition" refers to the first printing of the earliest edition of a book. First printing copies are unique because they are the first published record of a book. For collectors, the first edition of a book is the most desired edition, especially if it is signed. If a book wins an award or otherwise earns acclaim or popularity and the book's first printing was relatively small, copies of the first edition can become very valuable, and signed copies even more so.

What is a limited edition?

Limited editions are special issues of a book released in a small number of copies. They are usually bound in finer materials than the trade edition, may feature special decoration, or may be housed in a slip case or other custom enclosure. Limited editions are often signed by the author, usually on a special page which also notes the number of copies printed and the particular number of each copy. Sometimes limited editions are the only way to acquire a signed copy by an author.

What are advanced readers, uncorrected proofs and manuscripts?

Advanced readers (ARCs) and uncorrected proofs are copies of books that are sent to the media and booksellers prior to the official release date. These copies may have covers that will differ from the final cover and changes may still be made to the text. How collectible pre-publication books vary greatly. For many books, an ARC may be uninteresting, but an advance copy of In Cold Blood by Truman Capote or Jubilee by Margaret Walker carry historical markers, perhaps in a letter from the editor as Jubilee bears on its front cover.

Manuscripts are even more rare and are produced in extremely small numbers for individuals to read prior to the publication of the advance reader or proof. If they are very old, they maybe handwritten or typewritten. Manuscripts are found bound and unbound.

Where can I browse first editions at Lemuria?

Lemuria's first editions are kept in several different places: two rooms in the bookstore where we keep only first editions along with a couple of desks where we work, in our events building which we commonly call our Dot Com Building, and in a couple viewing cases in the fiction room and the main room of the bookstore. We also like to place a few collectible and out of print books on our open browsing shelves to help complete and beautify an author's work.

What kind of books does Lemuria have in its first editions collections?

About three years after the bookstore opened in 1975, John Evans began building the store's holdings. Lemuria's collection is mainly American fiction post World War I through today. We have a strong collection of signed first editions from southern authors: William Faulkner, Larry Brown, Elizabeth Spencer, Ellen Gilchrist, Walker Percy, Eudora Welty, Margaret Walker, Anne Rice, Pat Conroy, Mary Ward Brown, Alice Walker and many others.

On our website you will find some of what we have at our physical store. Most of our website inventory includes our first editions only. If you don't find what you're looking for, please let us know! We work to find first editions in the best condition we can. If you would like to communicate with us about the physical condition of one our books, please give us a call or send us an email.

How can Lemuria help me build or add to my own library?

Lemuria's team of booksellers can help you build a library for your home or office. We can build it by the foot or book by book, according to your favorite authors and/or subjects areas. Our First Editions Club is also a great way to start your own library of signed first editions.