Back on the topic of “edition sizes,” or “quantities in print runs” — especially with regard to “The Royal Game of Bezique,” by Camden — and a bit of a caveat from David Levy . . .

If you collect books for long, you begin to get an idea of the number of copies in editions or printings.  The bibliographical definition of “edition” is clear — or reasonably clear in most cases, and that ain’t the definition that Goodall used, nor is it the definition that the typical collector uses.  But you might, for instance, see that the first edition of Modern Magic (published by Routledge) consisted of 2,000 copies — and that was probably a relatively large printing for that type of book in that era (1876).

Of course, they typical card-game booklet is a very different thing from the typical book such as Modern Magic.

I suspect that, in general, Goodall used the term “edition” when they were referring to printings, whether there were revisions, or not.  Thus, the “Tenth Edition” of a booklet might be the tenth printing.  Or it might be approximately the tenth printing.  For instance, it might be the eleventh or twelfth, or the eighth or ninth.

I recently looked at the Wikipedia entry for “Edition (book).”  I looked at (I suppose) most of it — not exceedingly closely, but what I saw seemed overall okay (not perfect).  Apart from that, I had never (to my recollection) heard of “co-editions” as some generally accepted term, and the discussion of that made little or no sense to me (in terms of needing such a term), but fine.  Also, the whole article seemed to be written from the standpoint of “the computer age.”

One thing the Wikipedia article said, and I think accurately, is that publishers pretty much  use the term “edition” in any reasonable way they wish to.  And their definition often does not comport with either the collector’s definition or the bibliographer’s.

And really, that’s where we are with the Goodall booklets.  I don’t know whether Goodall ever particularly used the term edition to indicate that there had been a significant revision, or a significant amount of reset type.  Sometimes it probably meant that.  Often, it did not.

In the case of Professor Hoffmann’s Bridge booklet, if a booklet says, “Thirteenth Edition,” and also “Further Revised and Enlarged,” that may have some meaning.  But whatever meaning it has, it does not necessarily mean that the text is even one iota different from that of the “Eleventh Edition.”  I have not meticulously compared the two, but I suspect that they are identical (text-wise).  In one copy of each of those two “editions” I have looked at, the text ends at the same point of page 57.  Thus, if there was any “enlargement,” it took place within the 57 pages.

By this time, you may be asking, “What does all of the above have to do with edition sizes in Goodall’s booklets?”  Well, maybe, just this.  if you see a number printed at the bottom of a page in a Goodall booklet, it is not necessarily self-evident to what that number applies.

I recently received an email from David Levy, who (as many know) operates a blog on Edmond Hoyle.  In David’s email, he addresses the question of numbers stated by publishers within their books.  Boiled down, David indicated that caution is needed in interpreting any numbers — in the absence of more information as to what the numbers mean.

David’s email, and subsequent thinking by me on the topic, has instilled a certain amount of doubt in my mind as to the correct interpretation of the numbers found in various Goodall booklets.

In general, it seems that printing such numbers in booklets would be a convenient way of tracking the number of copies in that edition (or the number of copies printed around the date indicated by a number such as 10-15, presumed to mean October 1915).

If I were operating the company, I might say, well, we do not want to reveal information to competitors, so the numbers should be in a code.  Thus, “5,000” could mean “2,500 copies” printed.

Or, as David suggested to me, we don’t really know precisely what the numbers refer to.  Example:  Goodall could have a tenth edition with a “5,000” in it, and then could change the edition number to “Eleventh Edition” halfway through the run, keeping the “5,000” unchanged.  Or, they could easily decide on a “Twelfth Edition” of 2,000 copies, and yet leave the earlier quantity unchanged.  (These examples may or may not be good examples of what David was talking about.)

Nonetheless, in spite of the forgoing, I think that in spite of their potential faults and drawbacks, and the lack of certainty that goes with them, I think that the numbers are probably what they seem to be:  an effort by Goodall to state the quantity of booklets printed on or about the date specified.

Anyway, the foregoing is a long introduction to the following images.  The images show various examples of The Royal Game of Bezique.  Here I should state that I generally use the cover title for that work — the title-page title is usually as shown on the examples.

Shown are the title pages and the inside front-covers.

The numbers and apparent dates are seen at the lower-left corner of the title pages.  Not all printings show any numbers.  I think I have maybe only one non-Bezique booklet that gives a date and number along the lines of those shown.

To me, it is a reasonable guess that the numbers refer to dates, and to quantities printed on or about those dates.  But — see the above discussion.

Bez Jan 20 2013 quan 1910

Bez Jan 20 2013 quan_0001 1915

Bez Jan 20 2013 quan_0002 1915 2

Bez Jan 20 2013 quan_0003 1917

Bez Jan 20 2013 quan_0004 1917 2

Bez Jan 20 2013 quan_0005 1919

The images make the booklets look quite decrepit, but that is not necessarily the case.  Sometimes extremely light, almost unnoticeable, foxing appears extremely pronounced in scans that I make.  I have reduced its appearance somewhat in the images above.

—Tom Sawyer

January 22, 2013

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