Tuesday, October 9, 2012

First Edition Hunt: Dune

*Edit* Also check out my Dune Price guide to find out how much your copy is worth!

This is the holy grail of Fantasy/Sci Fi book collecting. I have seen one for sale in Temple Terrace Florida, when I went on vacation years ago, the price then was about $4,000, unsigned. I vowed to own such a book some day.

I feel that the rarity of this book in it's first printing and significance of the writing itself makes this an impossible find. Non collectors who read know something of it's rarity and are likely to spot it. This book will not be found at a paperback exchange with their rampant EBay searches, and most flea markets would have had this already picked out and sold. I'd like to call this book a "Garage/Yard Sale Only" item.

Someone has to already own it, and not know what they have. Unfortunately, this book was reprinted tons of times. The book club edition is almost identical in every way. The inside does not say first edition, but the date is correct. The actual cloth of the hard cover is red in the Book Club edition and baby blue in the true first printing. Other wise, a perfect match. Subsequent printings do not always have print runs on the inside cover, so you will many "Second Printings" on EBay as well. Signed copies double or triple the value even of book club editions. Over all, it's not uncommon to see a signed first edition go for over $10,000.

To answer a question that someone, someday will ask: No, I have never owned a first edition Dune. I do own a first edition paperback which is near worthless and always misidentified on EBay. I have had a book club edition in my possession, but found out it was worth less than the $5.00 I paid for it, so I gave it to a Dune enthusiast friend of mine. While with my enthusiast friend at a paperback exchange he found several ancient Dune paperbacks, hardbacks and other printings, all of which I own. He looked as if he was in heaven. I love the books, some of the best I've ever read. More pictures to help you identify a genuine first edition below:


  1. Thanks for this, and your Dune price guide. I now know that this 1965 book club edition I found at a thrift store is not worth a load of cash. At least it was cheap, and now I have it in both hardcover and paperback.

  2. The book club edition is not remotely like the first edition; it's much shorter and thinner, in addition to having different colored boards.

    Other points in telling the difference between a true first and later printings:

    1. Price of $5.95 on the dust jacket.
    2. Mention of Toronto (not Ontario) on the copyright page.
    3. Four lines (rather than two) at the bottom of the rear dust jacket flap.

    I have a true first, but it's an ex-library copy.