The other day copies of the new trade paperback state of The Dashiell Hammett Tour: Thirtieth Anniversary Guidebook gumshoed up to the door. Very nice — the colors on the covers are even brighter than on the hardback printing. Slick. Yeah, Vince Emery has outdone himself once again, but of course it didn’t take me long to notice what I now think of as a Vince-ism. On the copyright page it states that this is the “third printing.”
Third? I knew the hardback, the first edition from Vince, came out in 2009 in a print run of 1080 copies. Sometime later Vince popped the Kindle and a couple of other ebook versions into existence, which, however many copies may sell, don’t have anything to do with print in the classic sense. If this was “third,” I could think of two answers.
One: somewhere in there Vince reprinted the hardback state. Two, and my best guess: Vince was counting the Kindle as a printing.
And “two” was correct. Vince tells me he’s counting them that way because “we made revisions in each version.” The hardback is the first from Vince, no quibbling. Vince found three typographical thingies that needed to be switched, like a couple of items in the contents list that should not have appeared in italics. I found one regular typo on page 47 (if you’ve got the hardcover, you can test your proofreading skills). Those four got corrected in the Kindle version (but on the side, the name Willeford sometimes appears as Wille ford!). Just before the paperback was going to press (an actual press, doing printing), another minor typo got spotted and was corrected. So, until someone finds any kind of typo we may have missed, the new paperback is the cleanest state — and my cleanest edition ever. I finally got a book without any typos in it. . . .
Talking with Dennis McMillan a few days ago, I told him about the “third printing” deal, and Dennis — a book-book guy — was appalled. When I stopped into Green Apple Books on Clement a week back I spotted Kevin Hunsanger, and knowing he was interested in this kind of thing, told him about it, too. Kevin couldn’t believe it, either. Books, print runs, editions, states — that’s what some of us thrive on.
So, if you’re a book-book type, the foregoing is meant to inform you that the so-called “third printing” is in The World of Books the actual second printing. If you’re up-to-date and living in 2011, that antiquarian vibe may be foreign to you. I just wonder if on the day Vince corrects “Wille ford” for the Kindle if that’ll make the grade as another printing.