Monday, December 3, 2012

Series Book Questions Fall 2012

I have rewritten the questions in order not to quote directly from private messages.

I am interested in these first printing Nancy Drew books.

Nancy Drew #34 The Hidden Window Mystery 1957A-1 DJ
Nancy Drew #35 The Haunted Showboat Tweed 1958A-1 DJ

Hidden Window is copyright 1956 but has 1957A as the number.  Haunted Showboat is copyright 1957 but has 1958A as the number.  If the first printing was a year earlier as the copyright indicates, then shouldn't the numbers be 1957B and 1958B indicating second printings?

The people who wrote the Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew guides give dates that correspond to the earliest known printing of each book. Some of the books had copyrights that were registered towards the end of the year, but the books may not have actually been published until the start of the next year. In those cases, the guide writers chose the next year to date the first printing since they have no evidence that the book was printed during the same year as the copyright. The books you asked about are examples of this situation.

If you see a reference to Farah’s 12th edition in any of my listings with an accompanying code that ends in the number "1," the book is guaranteed to be the first printing, since that is the code that Farah used to denote the first printing. The final number is the printing, so "1" corresponds to the first printing.

Haunted Showboat’s first printing is 1958A-1, rather than 1957, since Farah has found no evidence that the first printing was issued before early 1958, even though the copyright is 1957. The same is true for Hidden Window in which the copyright is 1956 but the first printing is coded as 1957A-1.

So, this is a technicality on how the guide writers coded the books. We do know for sure that those books are the very first printings; we just do not know if they were actually printed in December or January of their corresponding years, which is why you see the discrepancy on the listed year.

The last flashlight edition Nancy Drew book, #64 Captive Witness, mentions The Gondolier's Secret as the next book in the series.  However, all websites mention Mystery of the Winged Lion as the next book in the series.  Why is this?  Did Carolyn Keene pass on before the book was written and other people took over writing the books?

What happened frequently with series books is that the publisher would have a title in mind and then change it later. At the time that Captive Witness went to print, the next title was called The Gondolier’s Secret. The title was changed from The Gondolier’s Secret to Mystery of the Winged Lion by the time the book went into print. Even though the next book, Mystery of the Winged Lion, had been retitled, the previous book, Captive Witness, still had the wrong title listed in the back. You’ll see that same kind of error occasionally with some of the other books.

When I answered this question, I did not address the issue of when Carolyn Keene passed on.  Carolyn Keene is a pseudonym for a group of writers.  Carolyn Keene never existed in the first place, so she never passed on.  We do not know the names of all writers who have written Nancy Drew books over the years, such as for the newest books, but we do know that Mildred Wirt Benson wrote the earliest Nancy Drew books.  Harriet Stratemeyer Adams later wrote a large number of the original 56 Nancy Drew books.  Neither woman is still living, but this has nothing to do with errors in titles printed inside books.

I am looking for Nancy Drew books #1-56 from the original series for my wife.  Do you have the entire set for sale, or do you have all of the books available individually?

I should have nearly all of them individually, except for any stray titles that may have sold recently.

If you go to this link, you will see my Nancy Drew books. You are probably looking for the picture cover books, which you will find in the following subcategories.

> PCs Blue Multi
> PCs B&W Multi I
> PCs B&W Multi II

If you want all 56 books, then it will be less expensive to purchase them together in a lot. Several sellers on eBay have complete sets. 

Note:  I provided the prospective buyer a link to one set that was currently on eBay at that time.  The buyer did not purchase any books from me, so I assume that he found what he needed on eBay.

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