How can there be differences among the books in a first run printing? There are two types.
are created when the
presses are stopped during a printing to correct one or more problems such as typesetting errors, battered
or broken type, or other accidental
matters which the publisher or printer considers too minor
to justify abandoning the partial run and starting over.
are created when a publisher
intentionally decides to create differences (other than those requiring changes in the plates or typesetting)
among the books produced during the first printing. Perhaps the publisher wishes to give customers a choice
of bindings, type of paper, or even format. Whatever the case, if the first printing is without states,
then issues become the focus for determining priority. Sometimes one issue can be determined to have priority
over another (e.g. if the printer kept a record indicating the printing order) in which case one can identify
a book as a first issue. More often, no priority can be established and the various issues are simply called
It is important to note that the question of priority turns on when the sheets for the text of a particular
book were printed, not when the sheets were folded into
, or the gatherings were bound.
A different State
of a first printing can be created even by the insertion of a cancel
leaf after the book is bound provided that a portion of the first
printing retained the original leaf. If the entire first printing has a
cancel leaf, or all the books retaining the the first leaf were
destroyed, then no States were created during the first printing.
The signs which enable states or issues to be distinguished are called