Book Collecting

Stephen King – First Edition Books: Identification Guide

Stephen King
Stephen King

Stephen Edwin King (1947 – ) is an American author of horror, supernatural fiction, suspense, crime, science-fiction, and fantasy novels. His books have sold more than 350 million copies, and many have been adapted into films, television series, miniseries, and comic books. King has published 63 novels, including seven under the pen name Richard Bachman, and five non-fiction books. He has also written approximately 200 short stories, most of which have been published in book collections.

Stephen King has received Bram Stoker Awards, World Fantasy Awards, and British Fantasy Society Awards. In 2003, the National Book Foundation awarded him the Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters. He has also received awards for his contribution to literature for his entire bibliography, such as the 2004 World Fantasy Award for Life Achievement and the 2007 Grand Master Award from the Mystery Writers of America. In 2015, he was awarded with a National Medal of Arts from the U.S. National Endowment for the Arts for his contributions to literature. He has been described as the “King of Horror”, a play on his surname and a reference to his high standing in pop culture.

In 1973, King’s novel Carrie was accepted by publishing house Doubleday. Carrie was King’s fourth novel, but it was the first to be published. It was written on a portable typewriter that belonged to his wife. When Carrie was chosen for publication, King’s phone was out of service. Doubleday editor William Thompson – who would eventually become King’s close friend – sent a telegram to King’s house in late March or early April 1973 which read: “Carrie Officially A Doubleday Book. $2,500 Advance Against Royalties. Congrats, Kid – The Future Lies Ahead, Bill.” Carrie set King’s career in motion and became a significant novel in the horror genre. In 1976, it was made into a successful horror film.

In the late 1970s and early 1980s, King published a handful of short novels—Rage (1977), The Long Walk (1979), Roadwork (1981), The Running Man (1982) and Thinner (1984)—under the pseudonym Richard Bachman. The idea behind this was to test whether he could replicate his success again and to allay his fears that his popularity was an accident. An alternate explanation was that publishing standards at the time allowed only a single book a year. He picked up the name from the hard rock band Bachman-Turner Overdrive, of which he is a fan. His pseudonym was exposed by a persistent bookstore clerk. This led to a press release heralding Bachman’s “death”—supposedly from “cancer of the pseudonym”. King dedicated his 1989 book The Dark Half, about a pseudonym turning on a writer, to “the deceased Richard Bachman”, and in 1996, when the Stephen King novel Desperation was released, the companion novel The Regulators carried the “Bachman” byline

Stephen King’s ‘Salem’s Lot was published in 1975. In a 1987 issue of The Highway Patrolman magazine, he stated, “The story seems sort of down home to me. I have a special cold spot in my heart for it!” After his mother’s death, King and his family moved to Boulder, Colorado, where King wrote The Shining (published 1977). The family returned to western Maine in 1975, where King completed his fourth novel, The Stand (published 1978).

In the late 1970s, King began what became a series of interconnected stories about a lone gunslinger, Roland, who pursues the “Man in Black” in an alternate-reality universe that is a cross between J. R. R. Tolkien‘s Middle-earth and the American Wild West as depicted by Clint Eastwood and Sergio Leone in their spaghetti Westerns. The first of these stories, The Dark Tower: The Gunslinger, was initially published in five installments by The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction under the editorship of Edward L. Ferman, from 1977 to 1981. The Gunslinger was continued as an eight-book epic series called The Dark Tower, whose books King wrote and published infrequently over four decades.

In 1982, King published Different Seasons, a collection of four novellas with a more serious dramatic bent than the horror fiction for which King is famous. The collection is notable for having had three of its four novellas turned into Hollywood films: Stand by Me (1986) was adapted from the novella The Body, The Shawshank Redemption (1994) was adapted from the novella Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption, and Apt Pupil (1998) was adapted from the novella of the same name.

King has called Richard Matheson “the author who influenced me most as a writer”. In a current edition of Matheson’s The Shrinking Man, King is quoted as saying, “A horror story if there ever was one…a great adventure story—it is certainly one of that select handful that I have given to people, envying them the experience of the first reading.”

Other acknowledged influences include H. P. Lovecraft, Arthur Machen, Ray Bradbury, Joseph Payne Brennan, Elmore Leonard, John D. MacDonald, and Don Robertson.

In 2003, Stephen King was honored by the National Book Awards with a lifetime achievement award, the Medal of Distinguished Contribution to American Letters. His other awards include: the Bram Stoker Awards, the British Fantasy Award, the Hugo Award, the Locus Award, the Edward Award, the Word Fantasy Award and many more.

Stephen King – First Editions Identification Guide

Note: This list only includes books published prior to 2000.

How to Identify First Edition books by Stephen King
YearTitlePublisherFirst edition/printing identification points
1974CarrieDoubleday & Co.Boards. "First Edition" stated on the © page and date code "P6" on the gutter of page 199. Dust jacket has price of $5.95 on the front flap.
1975Salem's LotDoubleday & Co.Boards. "First Edition" stated on the © page and date code "Q37" on the gutter of page 439. Dust Jacket has three states, priority as listed:
  • (A) Issued with a price of $8.95 and main character referred to as Father Cody (a mistake should be Callahan) in flap description. This state dust jacket is very rare.
  • (B) Publisher decided the price was to high and clipped the dust jacket and decreasing the price to $7.95, this version still has the Father Cody mistake.
  • (C) Dust jacket is corrected from Father Cody change to Father Callahan"
1977The ShiningDoubleday & Co.Boards. "First Edition" stated on the © page and date code "R49" on the gutter of page 447. Dust Jacket price of $8.95."
1977RageSignet BooksWrappers. Signet 451-W7645 ($1.50) "First Printing, September 1997" on the © page and has a number line 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9."
1978Night ShiftDoubleday & Co.Boards. "First Edition" stated on the © page and date code "S52" on the gutter of page 446. Dust Jacket price of $8.95."
1978The StandDoubleday & Co.First Edition stated on the bottom of the © page, with 1978 on the titlepage and date code "T39" gutter code on page 823. The first issue dust jacket has a price of $12.95 on the front flap, and a 35-line quote from the book on the back. The author bio on the back dust jacket flap mentions earlier books only - Carrie, The Shining, Salem's Lot, and Night Shift."
1979The Long WalkSignet BooksWrappers. "First Printing, July 1979" stated on the © page and number line 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9."
1979The Dead ZoneViking PressFirst published in 1979 by The Viking Press is stated on the © page with no references to subsequent printings. The dust jacket ($11.95) has no reviews. Back of dust jacket has an 11-line quote from the book with ISBN on the bottom right corner. The back dust jacket flap has a photo of the author above a 4-line bio."
1980FirestarterViking PressBoards. "First published in 1980 by the The Viking Press" is stated on the © page with no references to subsequent printings. Dust Jacket price of $13.95."
1981RoadworkSignet BooksWrappers. Signet 451-E9668 ($2.25). "First Printing, March, 1981" stated on the © page and number line 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9."
1981CujoViking PressBoards. "First published in 1981 by the The Viking Press" is stated on the © page with no references to subsequent printings. Dust Jacket price of $13.95."
1982Different SeasonsViking PressBoards. "First Published in 1982" on © page. Address the of Viking Press as"625 Madison Avenue" on both © page and rear flap of the Dust Jacket. Dust Jacket price of $16.95.
1982The Running ManSignet BooksWrappers. Signet 451-AE1508 ($2.50). "First Printing, May, 1982" stated on © page and number line 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9."
1982The Dark Tower: The GunslingerDonald M. GrantBoards. Two issues, no priority:
  • (A) Limited signed edition.
    • 52 lettered copies marked: A-Z, AA-AZ
    • 12 copies reserved for the publisher, marked: "Publisher's Copy"
    • 40 copies reserved for the author, marked: "Author's Copy"
    • 10 copies reserved for the artist, marked: "Artist's Copy"
    • 25 (possibly fewer) copies called "Presentation Copies"
    • Limited edition of 500 slipcased copies. Dustjacket artwork by Michael Whelan. Signed and numbered by Stephen King and Michael Whelan. Cover price $60. The limitation sheet reads: "This special edition of The Dark Tower: THE GUNSLINGER is limited to 500 copies, signed by the author and artist. This copy ______"
  • (B) Trade edition. "First Edition" stated on the © page. Dust Jacket trade has two prices printed "Trade $20/Limited $60."
1983ChristineVikng PressBoards. "First published in 1983 by the The Viking Press" is stated on the © page with no references to subsequent printings. Dust Jacket price of $16.95."
1983Pet SemataryDoubleday & Co.Boards. "First Edition" stated on the © page. Dust Jacket price of $15.95."
1983Cycle of the WerewolfLand of EnchantmentBoards. Two issues, no priority:
  • (A) Signed limited edition of 350 copies in slipcase w/ orange Dust Jacket.
  • (B) Trade edition. No statement of printing on the © page. In slipcase w/ orange Dust Jacket."
1984The TalismanVikng PressFirst published in 1984 by Viking Penguin Inc. on the © page with no references to subsequent printings. Dust Jacket price of $18.95."
1984The Eyes of the DragonPhiltrum Press (1984)Boards. "First published in 1987 by Viking Penguin Inc." on © page. Dust Jacket price of $18.95
1984ThinnerNALBoards. "First printing, November 1984" and number line 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 on the © page."
1985Skeleton CrewPutnamBoards. Number line 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 on © page. Dust Jacket price of $18.95.
1986ItVikng PressBoards. "First published in 1986 by Viking Penguin Inc." on © page. Dust Jacket price of $22.95."
1987The Dark Tower II: The Drawing of the ThreeDonald M. GrantBoards. Two issues, no priority: (A) 12 copies reserved for the publisher, marked: "Publisher's Copy" 40 copies reserved for the author, marked: "Author's Copy" 10 copies reserved for the artist, marked: "Artist's Copy" An indeterminate number of copies called "Presentation Copies" Limited signed edition of 850 slipcased copies (800 of which were offered for sale). Issue price of $100. The limitation sheet reads: "This special first edition of THE DARK TOWER II: The DRAWING OF THE THREE is signed by author Stephen King and artist Phil Hale. The Edition is limited to 850 copies of which 800 are for sale. This is copy ___"."
1987MiseryViking PressBoards. "First published in 1987 by Viking Penguin Inc." on © page. Dust Jacket price of $18.95."
1987The TommyknockersPutnamBoards. Line number 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 on © page. Dust Jacket price of $19.95."
1989The Dark HalfVikng PressBoards. "First published in 1989 by Viking Penguin, a division of Penguin Books USA Inc." on © page and line number 1 3 5 7 9 1 0 8 6 4 2. Dust Jacket price of $21.85."
1990Four Past MidnightVikingBoards. "Stephen King" in gold on the cover. Number line 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 on © page. Dust Jacket price of $22.95.
1990The Stand, Complete UncutDoubleday & Co.Boards. "First Trade Edition" stated on © page. Dust Jacket price of $24.95."
1991The Dark Tower III: The Waste LandsDonald M. GrantBoards. Two issues, no priority:
  • (A) Limited signed edition:
    • 26 lettered copies
    • 12 copies reserved for the publisher
    • 40 copies reserved for the author
    • 10 copies reserved for the artist, marked: "Artist's Copy"
    • 1,250 slipcased copies numbered, and signed by Stephen King and Ned Dameron.
  • (B) Trade edition. "First edition" stated on © page. Dust Jacket price of $38.
1991Needful ThingsVikng PressBoards. "First published in 1991 by Viking Penguin" and number line 1 3 5 7 9 10 8 6 4 2. Dust Jacket price of $24.95"
1992Gerald's GameVikng PressBoards. "First published in 1992 by Viking Penguin" and number line 1 3 5 7 9 10 8 6 4 2. Dust Jacket price of $23.50."
1992Dolores ClaiborneVikng PressBoards. "First published in 1993 by Viking Penguin" and number line 1 3 5 7 9 10 8 6 4 2. Dust Jacket price of $23.50."
1993Nightmares & DreamscapesVikingBoards. "First published in 1993 by Viking Penguin" and the number line 1 3 5 7 9 10 8 6 4 2 on © page. Dust Jacket price of $27.50.
1994InsomniaVikng PressBoards. "First published in 1994 by Viking Penguin" and number line 1 3 5 7 9 10 8 6 4 2. Dust Jacket price of $28.95."
1995Rose MadderVikng PressBoards. "First published in 1995 by Viking Penguin" and number line 1 3 5 7 9 10 8 6 4 2. Dust Jacket price of $25.95."
1996The Green MileSignet BooksWrappers. Serialized novel published in six parts. "First Printing (month)____ 1996" and number line 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1."
1996DesperationVikng PressBoards. "First published in 1996 by Viking Penguin" and number line 1 3 5 7 9 10 8 6 4 2. Dust Jacket price of $27.95."
1996The RegulatorsDuttonBoards. "First Trade Printing October 1996" and number line 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1. Dust Jacket price of $24.95."
1997The Dark Tower IV: Wizard and GlassDonald M. GrantBoards. Two issues, no priority:
  • (A) Limited edition of 1,250 slipcased copies numbered, and signed by Stephen King and Dave McKean.
  • (B) Trade edition. "First edition" stated on © page with no additional printing. Dust Jacket price of $45.00."
1998Bag of BonesScribner & SonsBoards. Number line 1 3 5 7 9 10 8 6 4 2. Dust Jacket price of $28.00."
1999The Girl Who Loved Tom GordonScribner & SonsBoards. Number line 1 3 5 7 9 10 8 6 4 2. Dust Jacket price of $16.95."
1999Hearts in AtlantisScribnerBoards. Number line 1 3 5 7 9 10 8 6 4 2 on © page. Dust Jacket price of $28.00.

Stephen King – First Printing Dust Jackets Identification Guide

Gallery of First state Dust Jackets of King’s works.

Reference:

  • Wikipedia

BOOKSTORE: Rare, Antiquarian, First editions, Illustrated Children's Books

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