Sunday, November 17, 2013

Series Book Questions Fall 2013

As always, I have rewritten the questions so as not to publish direct quotes from private messages.

Is the outside of the book matte or very glossy?  I need the matte version.

The above question was asked of the book pictured on the left.  I answered with the following.

This is one of the matte picture cover books. The ones that are very glossy have a yellow band across the top of the front cover with a flashlight inside along with the volume number and logo.

The key word here is "flashlight."  If you see a flashlight at the top of the front cover, then the book is not a matte picture cover edition.  Some matte picture cover editions have a yellow band at the top of the front cover, but a flashlight is not present in the yellow band.

The book pictured on the right is one of the flashlight editions.  The flashlight is visible between "Nancy Drew Mystery Stories" and the volume number, 22, in the yellow band at the top of the front cover.  The spine shows the Nancy Drew logo near the top, and the logo is placed in the middle of the shine of a flashlight.  Once prospective buyers know where to look, a flashlight edition can be identified easily.

I have a book that is missing approximately 30 pages.  Of the pages present, approximately 30 of them are duplicated in place of the pages that are missing.  Do you know anything about this kind of error?

Errors like that do occur sometimes but not very often. I haven't ever seen any series books with pages that are duplicated, but I do have a Little Golden Book where the first half of the book is duplicated as the second half of the book. So the LGB has the right number of pages, but the second half of the story is missing. Duplicated pages usually don't increase the value, unless someone desires that particular anomaly.  Typically, any kind of error that causes some of the text to be missing greatly devalues the book.  It is interesting, nevertheless.

Is this book the first printing?  What is listed as the next Nancy Drew title on page 176?

The first printing of The Clue of the Dancing Puppet lists to The Mystery of the Fire Dragon on the back cover.  This book cannot be the first printing because the book lists to The Phantom of Pine Hill on the back cover. The Phantom of Pine Hill was published in 1965, which places this particular book in 1965. This book was printed approximately three years after the first printing from 1962. Since this book is a later printing, the next title is correctly listed as The Moonstone Castle Mystery on page 176.

What do you mean by "foxed"?

I am not certain whether the prospective buyer needed the meaning of the word or what I meant by the word.  Nevertheless, I gave the definition and explained the flaw with respect to the offered book.

"Foxed" is when a chemical reaction has occurred, causing light brown stains to occur inside old books. This book has foxing on a few scattered pages, whereas most of the book does not have foxing. I have attached a photo of two pages that are foxed.

The photo that I attached to my response is seen to the right.

1 comment:

keeline said...

The number of pages missing and repeated is almost certainly 32. This has to do with the ways that books were assembled.

The printing plates (or offset masters) were printed on large sheets--16 per side in this case. Once printed they were folded in a particular way and stitched together with a sewing machine. This forms what publishers call a "signature". With other signatures you get a page block.

When it is time to bind a book, the various signatures for a book are gathered by hand or by machine from stacks to assemble the page block for the book.

If two signatures are accidentally picked up and the extra is returned to the wrong stack, it is very easy for the kind of error described (missing one but duplicating another signature) to occur in individual cases.

These two silent film videos show how publishers in the 1920s printed, assembled, and bound books. One is from 1920 where the John C. Winston Company of Philadelphia assembled both series books and textbooks. The other from 1925 shows how Oxford University Press published the Oxford English Dictionary and many other kinds of books. Notice that the later UK film has gathering by hand.

1920 -- John C. Winston

1925 -- Oxford University Press

The methods used by the printers/binders for Grosset & Dunlap were at least similar to these for the same time period. In later years more automation was done, of course. Automation is assisted by having books of similar length which is why the G&D series books went to exactly 180 text pages (plus preliminaries) to take advantage of the similarity in machine settings and cost of materials (paper and ink).