Books -Publishing Dates, © Dates & Roman Numerals

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Once you have the bare facts, it's really very simple to decypher all the nonsense in the front of your book!
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It all LOOKS so complicated!

Although it looks complicated, it's really quite simple!
The Copyright date is denoted by the © symbol (or just the word copyright).  This is the date the work became copyright protected.  Sometimes this is well before the book/work is actually published.

The Publishing date, is the date on which the book/publication was actually printed and/or released for purchase.
In the photo example (second orange highlighted ring) the publishing date is easy to spot because it tells you. In SOME instances however, you will find there doesn't appear to be a publishing date at all.  Sometimes there just isn't one, and we have to assume that the copyright and publishing dates are the same (because that's all we have to go on).  HOWEVER - if you see a random set of capital letters, looking something like MCMXCVIII, you might be interested to know, that these ARE your publishing date.  Some publishers, Disney is one that comes to mind, always denote the year of publication in Roman Numerals. MCMXCVIII is 1998.  Whether we hate it or not, it is what it is.  If you Google search "Advanced Roman Numerals Converter" you will find the little tool I use to translate them for me.

So, what's the weird looking row of numbers inside a lot of books?  I wondered this for years myself!  I kept meaning to look it up, but never got around to it.  It's so much simpler than I ever thought it would be to explain!  These numbers (seen in the third orange circle in the photo) are what is called a Printer's Key or a Numberline.  The Printer's Key solves a huge mystery for me!  Did you ever wonder how to tell if you were holding a first edition or not?  Very occasionally it's actually written inside the book, but that's rare.  This series of numbers written either forwards or backwards tells you which edition of a book you have in your hand.  If the Printer's Key contains the number 1, you have a first edition.  It will appear as 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 or perhaps 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1.  If you saw 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12, that would indicate that you are holding the third edition of the book.  Of course, just as with the English Language, there is always the odd exception to the rule, but in general terms, this information will serve you well as a buyer and seller here on Ebay.
The last orange circled number series in the photo, is of course the book's ISBN.  An ISBN is an International Standard Book Number.
  • Books printed prior to 1970 may not have an ISBN.
  • ISBNs were 10 digits in length up to the end of December 2006.
  • Since 1 January 2007, all ISBNs consist of 13 digits and start with 978 at this point in time.
To look up a book by its ISBN, type "lookupbyisbn" into Google, and if you're likely to use it again, perhaps save it to your browser favourites.
To convert a book's ISBN10 to ISBN13 (or the reverse), type "ISBN_converter" into Google, and again favourite the page if you think you'll find it useful.
I found, that once I had all these little tools on my favourites bar, listing books on Ebay for sale became so much simpler!  I hope it makes your life easier too!
 
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