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Ruth Rendell / Barbara Vine firsts?
I've noticed some odd things about books I've assumed were first
printings by British crime author Ruth Rendell...
I bought a brand new copy of THE BIRTHDAY PRESENT today (her latest
'as Barbara Vine'), published by Shaye Areheart Books. The copyright
page shows the numbers 10 through 2 above the legend "First U.S.
Edition." This seems fine, since they are an imprint of Crown, and
hence a division of Random House, which marks their firsts that way,
as I understand it. But the previous Vine titles, THE MINOTAUR and THE
BLOOD DOCTOR, had a number line all the way to "1"; both also said
"First American Edition".
One might imagine that the latest Areheart editions have been brough
into line with Random House usage, but Crown's recent Ruth Rendell
novels are even more confusing: 13 STEPS DOWN (2005) has a full number
line and says "First American Edition"; END IN TEARS (2006) shows 10
through 2, and says "First Edition"; NOT IN THE FLESH (2008) goes
*back* to the full number line, and says "First U.S. Edition".
Is it ridiculous of me to think that there might be some consistency
in the way first printings are designated?
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