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CHARLIE THE CHOO-CHOO: The True First Printing: Anomaly Edition


The True First Printing: Anomaly Edition.


We have discovered that the very “first” printing of Charlie the Choo-Choo by Stephen King, under his pseudonym Beryl Evans, was inadvertently printed without the Simon & Schuster information on the back, and without a UPC for a short print run. A UPC sticker was applied to correct this, but the Simon & Schuster information was left off. We also discovered that the printing of the interior also has a different printing numbered line. The printing numbers shows as thus: 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1.
The copyright page features ISBN 9781471163777 - this does not correspond to the US or UK edition. Both feature different ISBNs. Looking this ISBN up the master list has no information applied to it. The copyright page in this edition is slightly shorter, and very different than the regular first edition. It begins that it was printed for Great Britain in 2016, and then states it was printed for the US in 2016, again, different than the regular first printing.

This anomaly edition was obviously a mistake, and they stopped the presses to correct this error. After correcting this mistake, the publisher continued the printing of the first print run. This updated first printing still show a first, but the line now reads:
2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 9, 7, 5, 3, 1, which is the back and forth numbered line version. The UPC and Simon & Schuster publisher information placed in the bottom right and left corners on the back as it was supposed to appear.

With this information we’ve only discovered there are a handful of these but we’ll probably never know the exact quantity. This means both the interior and the cover were printed independently of other editions with these anomalies, making this the true first printing. The first printing of this book is just over 30,000 copies (this would include the Anomaly printing), according to my publisher source direct from Simon and Schuster. Again, no information of how many Anomaly copies were printed before they caught the mistake, but it couldn't have been many. As I publish this in early December the publisher informed us that Charlie the Choo-Choo has just gone into a third printing.

The title page of this book reads Fourth Edition, 1942. This is a tongue-in-cheek nod, an inside joke, from Stephen King and the publisher making this edition "appear" to be a reprint from an older release decades ago. Even the pages and the book have been made to have an antique look to it. It indeed is not a fourth edition. It is a First Edition (the only edition printed), and a First Printing (as long as the copyright page begins with a 1 in the number line (see above). Please note that it can be a First Edition, with later printings (which begin with the lowest number on the line as in 2,3,4,5,6 - this would be a second printing, etc.) If you reprint a book, maybe a new cover, a new introduction, etc, then this would constitue a Second Edition (but would still have a First Printing like any new print run). However the current edition is the only version ever published.

- Dave Hinchberger, proprieter, Stephen King Catalog.

The Overlook Connection November, 2016

This article was published on Sunday 04 December, 2016.
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