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Stephen King First Editions: How to Recognize One

Anna is a writer, mom, crafter, and movie buff. Her favorites are horror movies and horror stories, thanks to some inspiring parents.

Stephen King is a very recognizable name in the genre of horror fiction, though not all of his books fall into this category. His writing is very popular, and his books are in high demand. First editions are sought after by collectors and avid fans. Some are more valuable than others, and some are very hard to find!

So, how do you tell if that book you have is a first edition? In the more recent published books of his, it is a little easier, but for his older works, it can be a bit difficult. I will make it all easier for you! I will go book-by-book and give you all the information you need to identify Stephen King first editions. This will be updated as new books are released.

If you find you have a first edition and are curious about the value, there are numerous places you can look. Most bookstores that deal in rare books, collectible books, and that sort of thing should be able to appraise the book for you. If you choose to sell it, they may also be willing to either buy it from you or sell it on consignment. If you have some that you just really don't want, I would be more than happy to take them off of your hands!!

Terms Defined

There are a lot of terms in here that some of you may not be familiar with. I will include pictures for reference as well as a description. This guide is for trade editions only. Limited editions are sometimes published before or after the trade edition, and do not affect its value. Obviously, limited editions are far more valuable, and I may cover these in the future.

  • Trim Size: Trim size is basically the dimensions of the book itself. This information is provided because often, Book Club editions of books tend to be smaller than the original. If you have a book that seems smaller than others, it very well may be a book club edition. "Book Club Edition" will usually be found on the inside of the dust jacket.
  • Dust Jacket: The dust jacket is the paper that is wrapped around the book. It is there to protect the book, and if missing, the value of the book is severely diminished. The dust jacket price can be found in the upper right-hand corner of the front flap of the dust jacket. The code (if there is one) is found on the bottom of the front flap.
  • Binding Information: Binding information is important because not all editions of a book are bound in the same way. A full-bound book will be all cloth without paper boards. Quarter-bound indicates a book that has cloth closest to the spine, and then boards. The colors are important, because, again, not all editions are bound with the same colors. Paste-downs are simply the pieces of paper that are pasted down to the inside of the book. The front and rear-end papers are those pieces of thicker paper that are at the very beginning and very end of the book.
  • Copyright Page Information:

    Copyright page information is pretty straight forward. Most follow a numerical code to determine a first edition. The codes vary. If a code is present, all will start with a 1 or 10, except Black House which has the code "2 4 6 8 9 7 5 3". Most codes look like this:

    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

    1 3 5 7 9 10 8 6 4 2

    10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

    The easiest indicator is if it clearly says "FIRST EDITION" on the copyright page, and while sometimes they do, that is not always the case.

The Early Years: 1974–1984

Let's start at the beginning. I will go book-by-book, and give you all the information you need. Terms are defined on the right of the text.

Carrie:Published in May 1974 by Doubleday. First edition run of 30,000 copies. 181 pages. Trim size is 5.75 x 8.5 x 0.9". Dust Jacket price is $5.95. The book is full bound in maroon cloth. Paste-downs and front and rear paper color in black. "First Edition" is printed on copyright page and "P6" is printed on inner margin of page 199. Current value: $1,000-1,800

'Salem's Lot:Published in Oct. 1975 by Doubleday. First edition run of 20,000 copies. 439 pages. Trim size is 5.75 x 8.5 x 1.25". Dust jacket price is $7.95/$8.95 (depending on state). The book is quarter bound in black cloth with red boards. Paste-downs and front and rear end paper in white. "First Edition" is printed on copyright page, "Q37" is printed on page 439. There are three dust jacket states to look for. 1) $8.95 on dust jacket, "Father Cody" error, instead of "Father Callahan". (this is very rare!) Current Value: varies 2) price clipped, $7.95, "Father Cody" error again. Current value: $700-900 3) $7.95 on dust jacket, "Father Callahan" correctly referenced. Code on dust jacket reads, "A NEW NOVEL" will have no anchor on spine. Current Value: $200-350

The Shining: Published in Jan. 1977 by Doubleday. First edition run of 25,000 copies. 447 pages. Trim size is 5.75 x 8.5 x 1.5". Dust jacket price is $8.95. The book is quarter bound in black cloth with tan boards. Paste-downs and front and rear end paper in white. "First Edition" is printed on copyright page, and "R49" is printed on page 447. Current Value: $200-300

Rage:Published under name Richard Bachman in Sept. 1977 by Signet. First edition run of 75,000 paperback copies. 211 pages. Trim size is 4.2 x 7.0 x 0.7". It was published as a paperback, so no dust jacket or binding information. Price listed as $1.50. "First Signet Printing, September, 1977" on Copyright page. code, "1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9" on copyright page. Current Value: $200-400

Night Shift: Published in 1978 by Doubleday. First edition run of approx. 12,000 copies. 336 pages. Trim size is 5.75 x 8.5 x 1". Dust jacket price is $8.95. The book is quarter bound in black cloth with red boards. Paste-downs and front and rear end paper in white. "First Edition" is printed on copyright page, and "S52" is printed on page 336. Current Value: $550-750

The Stand: Published in 1978 by Doubleday. First edition run of 70,000 copies. 823 pages. Trim size is 5.75 x 8.5 x 1.9". Dust jacket price is $12.95. The book is quarter bound in black cloth with gold boards. Paste-downs and front and rear end paper in white. "First Edition" is printed on copyright page, and "T39" is printed on page 823. Current Value: $450-550

The Long Walk:Published under the name Richard Bachman in July 1979 by Signet. 244 pages. Trim size is 4.2 x 7 x 0.75". It was published as a paperback, so no dust jacket or binding information. Price is listed as $1.95. "First Signet Printing, July, 1979" printed on copyright page, and code "1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9" is also printed on copyright page. Current Value: $60-80

The Dead Zone: Published in 1979 by Viking. First edition run of 50,000 copies. 428 pages. Trim size is 6.25 x 9.5 x 1.45". Dust jacket price is $11.95 and code on dust jacket is "0879". The book is quarter bound in black cloth with black boards. Paste-downs and front and rear end paper in white. "First Published in 1979 by the Viking Press" is printed on copyright page. Also look for Viking's address (625 Madison Avenue) on both copyright page and dust jacket. Current Value: $40-60

Firestarter: Published in 1980 by Viking (Phantasia Press). First edition run of 100,000 copies. 426 pages. Trim size is 6.25 x 9.5 x 1.6". Dust jacket price is $13.95 and code on dust jacket is "0980". The book is quarter bound in orange cloth with black boards. Paste-downs and front and rear end paper in white. "First published in 1980 by the Viking Press" is printed on copyright page. Also look for Viking's address (625 Madison Avenue) on both copyright page and dust jacket. A limited edition was also published around this time by Phantasia Press. Current Value: $35-50

Cujo: Published in 1981 by Viking (Mysterious Press). First edition run of 150,000 copies. 319 pages. Trim size is 6.25 x 9.5 x 1.2". Dust jacket price is $13.95 and code on dust jacket is "0981". The book is quarter bound in black cloth with tan boards. Paste-downs and front and rear end paper in white. "First Published in 1981 by the Viking Press" is printed on copyright page. Also look for Viking's address (625 Madison Avenue) on both copyright page and dust jacket. Current Value: $150-200

Danse Macabre: Non-fiction published in 1981 by Everest House. First edition run of 60,000 copies. 400 pages. Trim size is 6.25 x 9.5 x 1.25". Dust jacket price is $13.95. The book is quarter bound in maroon cloth with red boards. Paste-downs and front and rear end paper in white. "RRD281" is printed on copyright page. Current Value: $50-60

Roadwork: Published under the name Richard Bachman in 1981 by Signet. 274 pages. Trim size is 4.2 x 7.0 x 0.6". It was published as a paperback, so no dust jacket or binding information. Price listed as $2.25. Code "1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9" printed on copyright page. Current Value: $90-120

The Running Man: Published under the name Richard Bachman in May 1982 by Signet. 219 pages. Trim size is 4.2 x 7.0 x 0.6". It was published as a paperback, so no dust jacket or binding information. Price listed as $2.25. "First Printing May 1982" on copyright page, and code "1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9" also on copyright page. Current Value: $35-50

The Dark Tower: The Gunslinger: Published in 1982 by Donald M. Grant. First edition run of 10,000 copies. 224 pages Trim size is 6.2 x 9.25 x 1.0". Dust jacket price is $20.00, some show 2 prices. The book is full bound in maroon cloth. Paste-downs and front and rear end papers with colored pictorials. "FIRST EDITION" printed on copyright page. Current Value: $700-850. (Some copies of this edition were misbound, increasing value). 2nd printing run of 10,000 copies: has black boards with non-colored pictorials on end papers and only 1 price listed. Current Value: $250-325. Also various special editions (signed & numbered, slipcased). Values for these are in the $6,000-7,500 range.

Different Seasons: Published in 1982 by Viking. First edition run of 200,000 copies. 527 pages. Trim size is 6.25 x 9.5 x 1.6". Dust jacket price is $16.95 and code on dust jacket is "0882". The book is quarter bound in dark blue cloth with blue boards. Paste-downs and front and rear end papers in white. "First Published in 1982 by the Viking Press" printed on copyright page. Also look for Viking address (625 Madison Avenue) on both copyright page and dust jacket. Current Value: $40-60

Christine: Published in 1983 by Viking. First edition run of 270,000 copies. 526 pages. Trim size is 6.25 x 9.5 x 1.6". Dust jacket price is $16.95 and code on dust jacket is "04163083". The book is quarter bound in black cloth with red boards. Paste-downs and front and rear end paper in white. "First Published in 1983 by the Viking Press" is printed on copyright page. Current Value: $20-40

Pet Sematary: Published in 1983 by Doubleday. First edition run of 250,000 copies. 416 pages. Trim size is 6.25 x 9.5 x 1.2". Dust jacket price is $15.95 and code on dust jacket is "1183". The book is full bound in black cloth. Paste-downs and front and rear end papers in red. "First Edition" printed on copyright page, and "Y38" printed on page 374. Two dust jacket states include; 1) Caretakers listed as 1982 2) Caretakers listed as 1983. Current Value: $25-45

Cycle of the Werewolf: Published in 1983 by Land of Enchantment. Trim size is 8.75 x 11.25 x 0.5". No dust jacket price. The book is full bound in brown leather. Paste-downs and front and rear end paper pictorials. No special copyright notes. Later reprinted in trade paperback by Signet and combined with script for Silver Bullet.

The Talisman: Co-written with Peter Straub and published in 1984 by Viking. 646 pages. Trim size is 6.25 x 9.5 x 1.8". Dust jacket price is $18.95 and code on dust jacket is "11182584". The book is quarter bound in red cloth with black boards. Paste-downs and front and rear end paper in white. "First Published in 1984 by Viking Penguin, Inc." printed on copyright page. Current Value: $20-35

Thinner: Published under the name Richard Bachman in Nov. 1984 by New American Library. First edition run of 50,000 copies. 309 pages. Trim size is 5.8 x 8.75 x 1.2". Dust jacket price is $12.95 and code on dust jacket is "11125084". The book is quarter bound in black cloth with red boards. Paste-downs and front and rear end papers in white. "First Printing, November, 1984" on copyright page, and code "1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9" printed on copyright page. Current Value: $50-75

1985–1995

Still with me? I hope so!! I hope this will be a handy reference guide for Stephen King fans, and collectors alike. Let's keep going.

Skeleton Crew: Published in May 1985 by Putnam. First edition run of 500,000 copies. 512 pages. Trim size is 6.25 x 9.5 x 1.6". Dust jacket price is $18.95 and code on dust jacket is '8506'. The book is quarter bound in black cloth with black boards. Paste-downs and front and rear end papers in brown. Code '1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9' is printed on copyright page. "A limited first edition of this book has been published by Scream Press" on copyright page, but this is incorrect, due to the fact that the limited edition was delayed, and was not released until after the first edition. Current Value: $15-30

The Bachman Books: Published in 1985 by New American Library. Trim size is 6.25 x 9.5". Dust jacket price is $19.95 and code on dust jacket is '10195085'. The book is quarter bound in black cloth with black boards. Paste-downs and front and rear end papers in white. 'First (Omnibus) Printing, October, 1985' on copyright page and code '1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9' printed on copyright page. Current Value: $50-70

The Bachman Books (paperback): Published in 1985 by New American Library. Trim size is 6.25 x 9.5". Published as paperback, so no dust jacket or binding information. Price listed as $19.95. 'First (omnibus) Printing' on copyright page, and code '1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9' printed on copyright page. Current Value: $30-40

IT: Published in 1986 by Viking. First edition run of 800,000 copies. 1,138 pages. Trim size is 6.25 x 9.5 x 2.3". Dust jacket price is $22.95 and code on dust jacket is '09221086'. The book is quarter bound in black cloth with black boards. Paste-downs and front and rear end papers in gray. 'First Published in 1986 by Viking Penguin, Inc.' on copyright page. Current Value: $100-150

Eyes of the Dragon: Published in 1987 by Viking (Philtrum). First edition run of 400,000 copies. 326 pages. Trim size is 6.25 x 9.5 x 0.9". Dust jacket price is $18.95 and code on dust jacket is '02182587'. The book is quarter bound in cream cloth with green boards. Paste-downs and front and rear end papers in green. 'First Published in 1987 by Viking Penguin, Inc.' on copyright page. Dust jacket has a scaled texture to it. First edition my be only edition to feature scaled texture. Current Value: $35-45

Misery: Published in 1987 by Viking. First edition run of 1 million copies. 310 pages. Trim size is 6.25 x 9.5 x 1.1". Dust jacket price is $18.95 and code on dust jacket is '06182587'. The book is quarter bound in black cloth with gray boards. Paste-downs and front and rear end papers in red. 'First published in 1987 by Viking Penguin, Inc.' on copyright page. Current Value: $15-30

The Tommyknockers: Published in 1987 by Putnam. 558 pages. Trim size is 6.25 x 9.5 x 1.6". Dust jacket price is $19.95 and code on dust jacket is '8711'. The book is quarter bound in black cloth with green boards. Paste-downs and front and rear end papers in green. Code '1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10' is printed on copyright page, and "Permissions to come" also printed on copyright page. Two different dust jacket states are; 1) author name in red. 2) author name in gold. Both have the same value. Current Value: $20-40

The Dark Tower II: The Drawing of the Three: Published in 1987 by Donald M. Grant. First edition run of 30,000 copies. 400 pages. Trim size is 6.2 x 9.2 x 2". Dust jacket price is $35.00. The book is full bound in black cloth. Paste-downs and front and rear end papers with pictorials. 'First Edition' is printed on copyright page. Current Value: $55-70. Limited edition run of 850 slipcased copies also released. These were signed and numbered by Stephen King and illustrator, Phil Hale. Current Value: $1,200-1,600

My Pretty Pony: Published in 1988 by Knopf (Whitney Museum). Trim size is 9.25 x 13.6 x 0.6". No dust jacket or binding information. "First Trade edition" printed on copyright page, which is inside the back cover. Current Value: $200-300

The Dark Half: Published in 1989 by Viking. First edition run of 1.5 million copies. Trim size is 6.25 x 9.5 x 1.3". Dust jacket price is $21.95. The book is quarter bound in black cloth with black boards. Paste-downs and front and rear end papers in violet. "First published in 1989 by Viking Penguin, a division of Penguin Books USA Inc" and code "1 3 5 7 9 10 8 6 4 2" on copyright page. Current Value: $10-15

Four Past Midnight: Published in 1990 by Viking. First edition run of 1.5 million copies. 763 pages. Trim size is 6.25 x 9.5 x 1.9". Dust jacket price is $22.95 and code on dust jacket is "0990". The book is quarter bound in black cloth with black boards. Paste-downs and front and rear end papers in orange. "First published in 1990 by Viking Penguin" and code "10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1" on copyright page. First dust jacket state has SK in gold on front cover, and second state lacks the gold. Current Value: $25-35

The Stand: Complete and Uncut: Published in 1990 by Doubleday. Trim size is 6.25 x 9.4 x 2.5". Dust jacket price is $24.95. The book is quarter bound in black cloth with black boards. Paste-downs and front and rear end papers in red. "May 1990" and "First Trade Edition" printed on copyright page. Current Value: $30-50

Needful Things: Published in 1991 by Viking. Trim size is 6.25 x 9.5 x 2.0". Dust jacket price is $24.95 and code on dust jacket is "1091". The book is quarter bound in black cloth with gray boards. Paste-downs and front and rear end papers in red. "First published in 1991 by Viking Penguin" and code "1 3 5 7 9 10 8 6 4 2" printed on copyright page. Current Value: $10-15

The Dark Tower III: The Wastelands: Published in 1991 by Donald M. Grant. First edition run of 40,000 copies. 512 pages. Trim size is 6.2 x 9.2 x 2". Dust jacket price is $38.00. The book is full bound in red cloth. Paste-downs and front and rear end papers with pictorials. "First Edition" printed on copyright page. Current Value: $40-60. A limited edition of 1,250 slipcased copies were released as well. They were numbered and signed by Stephen King and illustrator Ned Dameron. Current Value: $600-800

Gerald's Game: Published in 1992 by Viking. 331 pages. Trim size is 6.25 x 9.5 x 1.1". Dust jacket price is $23.50. The book is quarter bound in black cloth with black boards. Paste-downs and front and rear end papers in black. "First published in 1992 by Viking Penguin" and code "1 3 5 7 9 10 8 6 4 2" on copyright page. Current Value: $5-15

Dolores Claiborne: Published in 1993 by Viking. 305 pages. Trim size is 6.25 x 9.5 x 1.2". Dust jacket price is $23.50 and code on dust jacket is "0193". The book is quarter bound in black cloth with black boards. Paste-downs and front and rear end papers in either white or gold. "First published in 1993 by Viking Penguin" and code "1 3 5 7 9 10 8 6 4 2" printed on copyright page. Current Value: $10-15

Nightmares & Dreamscapes: Published in 1993 by Viking. 816 pages. Trim size is 6.25 x 9.5 x 2.25". Dust jacket price is $27.50 and code on dust jacket is "0993". The book is quarter bound in blue cloth with black boards. Paste-downs and front and rear end papers in blue. "First published in 1993 by Viking Penguin" and code "1 3 5 7 9 10 8 6 4 2" on copyright page. Current Value: $10-15

Insomnia: Published in 1994 by Viking. Trim size is 6.25 x 9.5 x 2.1". Dust jacket price is $27.95 and code on dust jacket is "1094". The book is quarter bound in light gray cloth with gray boards. Paste-downs and front and rear end papers in gray. "First published in 1994 by Viking Penguin" and the code "1 3 5 7 9 10 8 6 4 2" on copyright page. Two simultaneous dust jacket states with red and white reversed were issued. Both have same value. Current Value: $15-30

Rose Madder: Published in 1995 by Viking. 420 pages. Trim size is 6.25 x 9.5 x 1.3". Dust jacket price is $25.95. The book is quarter bound in black cloth with black boards. Paste-downs and front and rear end papers in burnt-orange. "First published in 1995 by Viking Penguin" and code "1 3 5 7 9 10 8 6 4 2" on copyright page. Current Value: $10-25. There was a different dust jacket for this book, that got rejected. There are believed to be a handful out there, and these are significantly more valuable than the regular book. They were more likely proofs, that having been rejected, were tossed out, and someone scooped them up.

Umney's Last Case: Published in 1995 by Penguin Group. 88 pages. It was issued as a mass market paperback, so no dust jacket information is available. Current Value: $20-45