East of Eden for the Summer

Hope you’ve had a wonderful, relaxing summer. I traveled quite a bit and was fortunate enough to spend the entire month of July visiting friends and relatives in five different states. It was a very hot, but rewarding, summer up north! Along the way, my kids and I visited bookstores, antique stores, thrift stores, flea markets, estate sales, garage sales, and the bookshelves of our friends and relatives. What an adventure.

Among the finds this summer were lots of classics including “Future Shock,” “The Caine Mutiny,” “Adam Bede,” and “Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea.” I would have to say “The Bear Tribe’s Self-Reliance Book” was the most eclectic book added to the bookshelves. And my personal favorite among the books brought back to the Belleyre shelves is “East of Eden.” Steinbeck’s autobiographical masterpiece is a favorite read of mine and to find a first edition, first printing of this classic was a highlight of the summer.

Belleyre Books has shelved first, second, and third printings of “East of Eden.” The second printing has already sold. Why care about the printing number? In the case of a highly collectible book like “East of Eden” it could mean the difference between a $100 third printing or a $10,000 first printing. Granted, there is a lot more to it than just the number line on the title page. Think condition, condition, condition. A book with a dust jacket will almost always be worth far more than the same book without the dust jacket. Wear and tear is another big factor. A book in fine condition (like new) may be worth 10 times the same book in poor or acceptable condition. And when you start considering highly collectible (i.e. valuable) books, there are the first edition points to consider. “Points” are what is used to verify that a book is actually a first edition. For example, a first printing of “East of Eden” contains a typo on page 281, and the dust jacket pictures the author. Later printings vary on these points.

Well, before I rattle on any longer, let me just say it’s great to be back writing “New This Week.” See you next Friday!