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Harry Potter

Harry Potter

Harry Potter is a series of seven fantasy novels written by author JK Rowling. The series chronicles the adventures of a young wizard, Harry Potter, his friends Ronald Weasley and Hermione Granger, students at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Since the release of the first novel, 'Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone', the books have gained immense popularity and commercial success. The book series had sold over 400 million copies making it the best-selling book series in history. Good condition first editions and first print runs are increasingly sought-after.


Notwithstanding Copyright © Text Joanne Rowling 1997 Wand error, page 53 book one (there were only 500 published of which as many as 60% were issued to libraries) ideally in excellent or unread condition with dust cover (hardbacks); it's considered that errors don't necessarily add much to the value of a book albeit of conceivable interest to some. Time constraint arguably an issue but more simply, myself, I don't consider that I generally know enough about the topic for it to be worthwhile. However, here are a few examples of printing errors that were changed, of course in later editions, but not in this case, in this instance the same first edition, first print run, publication date and ISBN – see if you can spot why…

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
Type: Paperback (Film) Type: Paperback (Film)
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publisher: Bloomsbury
Publication date: 2004 Publication date: 2004
Edition: First Edition: First
Print run: First (10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1) Print run: First (10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1)
Printed by: Griffin Press, Australia Printed by: Clays Ltd., England
ISBN: 0 7475 7376 X ISBN: 0 7475 7376 X
Page 036: …Anglesea to… Page 036: …Anglesey to…
Page 040: …snowy owl clicked her break Page 040: …snowy owl clicked her beak
Page 092: …tankard almost as a big as a bucket… Page 092: …tankard almost as big as a bucket…
Page 198: …listened with baited breath. Page 198: …listened with bated breath.

So, notwithstanding errors and corrections, differences above are as much in where in the world the books were printed and/or by whom, i.e. Griffin Press did not make the corrections as in the same UK edition. Note too that the Australian paperback was printed on heavier paper and that the book is approximately 5mm thicker.

First Editions

It's important to include (particularly if you haven't watched the above video) that the earlier format hardback 'Bloomsbury' books 1 – 4 feature print runs, and therefore the latter (including some of book 4) were printed 'First Edition'. In other words all early format pre-film Bloomsbury hardbacks (and paperbacks) were/are first editions; the earlier potentially valuable hardbacks in particular (1 – 3, some of book 4) would be First/First (1/1), i.e. first edition, first run – sometimes referred to as first impression or first print, high to low.

10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

…or early runs, e.g. high to low numbers…

20 19 18 17 16 15

– see also image top right –

60 59 58 57 56 55

– or low to high odd numbers, switching high to low even numbers –

11 13 15 17 19 20 18 16 14 12 10

In essence this means that not all first editions are necessarily collectable or particularly valuable. An example of this misunderstanding or conceivable attempt at deception is a used hardback 'First Edition' copy of later editions, for example the forth and fifth books in the series, 'Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire' and 'Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix' possibly worth £5.00 or so on sale online for unreasonable money, in this instance, well in excess of £100.00 when first sighted – of course not including nice signed books albeit there are forgeries impacting on the real value of genuine 'signed' copies.

Naturally an unread copy in excellent condition might make a few extra pounds, £10.00, a little more perhaps, and might conceivably be potentially more valuable as part of a full set with earlier 'First/First (Run)' editions – space fillers if you like. Print runs are not specific to early format or hardback, and some books may include print runs beyond the first four (Bloomsbury hardback series pre-film format). For example, 'Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows' book seven Bloomsbury paperback as well as Ted Smart and other collectable film/post-film and luxury editions. Later paperback print run examples, odd numbers low to high, switching even numbers high to low…

1 3 5 7 9 10 8 6 4 2

– or longer runs –

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20

And First/First (1/1) collectable Bloomsbury paperback film editions, as for earlier format hardback and paperbacks, high to low…

10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

If you perhaps have other examples of errors and/or differences that you might like to be included here – or for that matter any other information appreciated – please contact me.