Thursday, November 20, 2008

Early Color by Saul Leiter - Reprint



Quick note for those of you who missed out on the first edition of Saul Leiter's wonderful book Early Color, the reprint is available for order. It specifies FIRST EDITION but it is actually a second printing of the first. Who cares. It's a really good one and they go quickly.

Steidlville
Book Available Here

46 comments:

don said...

how is it distinguished from the first? pub date?

Jeff Ladd said...

No difference at all from what I can see. I am sure many of these will be passed off as the true firsts.

Philip said...

In other words we can never know when we really have a first edition!? Isn't this a little tricky? Do they do this to prevent losses from an indication that it is a second printing?

China Plate said...

I think they are just trying to battle the uber expensive out of print photo book market.

Jeff Ladd said...

Not sure. Same with the Robert Frank Come Again. I bought it when it came out and from what I have heard the second printing and first are exactly identical. No indications.

I can't say I am bothered in the least but then again unless it is a really old book (where I may want the first edition due to differences in reproduction technology) I couldn't care about first, second, third editions.

That said, of course the first editions of the Errata Editions books are the ones to get!

Jan V said...

If content and design are identical why should one prefer a first edition? In this case I would be very happy with a second. But I do agree different reproduction technology can make an early version desirable.

Next thing publishers should do is make signed copies available on their website (at least in the first month after the book comes out). And for reasonable prices (let's say a surcharge of 20%). Not everyone is able to attend those worldwide booksignings. I know a signature doesn't change the content but it makes it a bit more personal.

Philip said...

I don't care either about edition, however, there are people who do care, including, I'm sure the book seller. Why would the seller not put it in, for clarity, knowing too that first editions are considered more valuable to some collectors.

Jeff Ladd said...

I don't think they are distinguishing because they don't consider printing more copies as designating a new edition. Hence you see markings of "first edition second printing" in some books.

Some books have those odd strings of numbers at the bottom of the colophon page which also designates which printing it is but I could never figure out how to read them.

Anonymous said...

I disagree vehemently with not indicating the edition number. Book collecting is a hobby or pursuit that has engaged people of all incomes for hundreds of years. It is not to be messed with because of the pseudo combination socialistic/capitalistic desire to get people to buy books. Can you imagine if many photographers starting offering non-editioned works? This is a large market that should be catered to. I abhor this decision to not distinguish these editions and hope that Mr. Ladd points this out and that we all boycott or send emails to the publisher to voice our displeasure.

Mr. Ladd said...

If there is no difference to the book other than one was printed on tuesday and another printed the following month does that make it a "new" edition? When they changed the covers of Alec Soth's books they specified a new edition because they changed the book. When something changes they specify...when nothing changes they don't. I think there seems to be a lot of leeway concerning what people consider new editions.

And as far as me taking up the cause I have already mentioned it isn't a big deal to me so I will pass that to you. Send some emails.

For my books I will specify what is what...how's that.

Anonymous said...

We're not talking about one printed Tuesday and one printed Thursday. We're talking about one printed in January and one printed in September. Book publishers should have an ethical standard that demands that when an initial print run is done, than any subsequent printing gets labeled as such. I love photo books, but I'd cut my purchases by 95% if there was no first-mover incentive to validate the work I put into being one of the "early adopters."

If Ford today decided to manufacture a 1965 Mustang that was completely indistinguishable from an original it would decimate the collectible car market.

Ladd, please get off your high horse. Your own new publishing concern would fail miserably if you practiced what you are saying doesn't matter.

Ladd (on his high horse) said...

Jeez...you're intense dude.

QT Luong said...

Steidl, like other large volume publishers (Phaidon is another example), have apparently two types of books: limited and unlimited. If you get a limited book, like A Shimmer of Possibility, you know that if it is reprinted, it will be in a very different form (a single tome softcover). On the other hand, for unlimited books, they don't limit the number of copies that go into a printing. Specialty publishers who move less books, eg Nazraeli and Twin Palm , offer limited printings for all their books, presumably to maximize collectible value and provide an incentive to buy. If your main goal is investment, it does make sense to favor the limited books, but for many like myself it is a secondary (although fun) aspect.

Chuck Shacochis said...

Mr. Anonymous,
Why Doesn't Mr. Ladd get off of his high horse? Are you kidding? I'm surprised you can even see any of us atop of YOUR high horse. Publishers do not have to cater to your so-called large "collectors" market, they have to cater to EVERYONE.

I first became aware of Saul Leiter's work through 5B4 and was really bummed when I looked for Early Color and saw that it was selling for $300.00 and up. I could not afford it. I am really stoked about the continued first editions. It means I (and many students I know) can finally afford to buy the book, and don't have to buy it from some predatory vulture on Amazon who bought 20 copies when it was first released and waited until the value went ridiculously up to sell them. There are many of us out there who actually don't give a rat's ass what the book will be worth in the future, we just liking looking at the photos. Isn't that what photo books are intended for? The fact that photography books can become a hot commodity on the used and out of print network is secondary.

Mr. Ladd should be applauded for what Errata Editions is doing; bringing important out of print books back on to the scene so more people can have a chance to purchase them. Starving students and photographers like myself would love to buy certain collectible books and be able to study them in connection with our own work, but cannot because of the collectors who have driven prices through the roof. I wonder, when "collectors" page through a "collectible" book of photographs, do they actually see the images or just dollar signs? Hmmmmmmm.......

Chuck Shacochis

John Gossage said...

and you know that if you never take the shrink-wrap off your first edition it will be worth more and you never have to be bothered with those pesky pictures.

L'eminence gris-zer said...

As soon as I gets my twitties un-twistered and mah knickers un-knotted I shall have a comment of the utmost INTENSITY and gravity to add to this most important discussion. Until then let us begin with a numerical sequence running from 1 to 9 and as each blog-o-naut adds their two cents a numeral shall be removed, Kay? Let the Walter Brennan rule apply: "No brag, just facts.." And Mr. Gossage, it was a mite-y pleasure putting a face to yer name shakin' hands in ParisPhoto! Hope to see you again...

Whiskets said...

I'm just pissed that three sentences generates 16+ comments and things I spend time on get nothin' but silence. ;)

Cheers mates...

Chuck Shacochis said...

My Dear Mr. Ladd,
Chin up young man.....most of your reviews are so good, they need no additional comments. Case in point, your Oxbow Archive review was very eloquent. What more needs to be said? Sorry to piss you off.....

Your Pal,
Chuck

Double E said...

Anonymous: many photographers don't edition their prints. thes is a device of gallery owners to sell work. the date the print was made is more important.
John G: in Richard Benson's The Printed Picture exhibition at MOMA there are copies of The Americans and Decisive Monment that are falling apart from beging show to student of many years: Bensons says that a book unopened does not transmit its knowledge
(paraphrasing here).

Don said...

Early Color was first printed in 2006, so this new printing would be 2 years later. Steidl appears to be the only publisher of it's size in the world that does not (if all this is true) designate printings. Every airport paperback has a printing history in it as does most every coffee table book.

The question here, from a journalistic point of view, is why would they NOT include the printing history on the colophon page? It is totally contrary to virtually all industry practice.

Anonymous said...

The joke of Paris Photo was that an unsigned Martin Parr book is more rare (& valuable) than a signed one...
Made me giggle.

Vincent Borrelli said...

I'm with Anonymous on this: the printing matters to many, and is a standard in publishing (mass market or small run publishers). Every publisher I can think of (literature, art and other non-fiction books) notes the edition and printing of a book (typically in a numbering system, which varies by publisher).

One exception is Schirmer/Mosel (the only way to tell a later printing from a first printing is the inclusion of advertised titles published later on the DJ flap).

In any case, it's something that matters to enough people in the market to make the information known (regardless of if you have a high horse or a pony).

Mr. W. has done a service by noting this. If you still think Steidl should have a 'right' to exclude such info., then consider this offering by the publisher:
http://www.steidlville.com/books/144-The-Europeans.html

And Jeff, well-written essay on Sternfeld's new book. I want to get it just for the pure fun of looking at beautiful photographs. Well done and keep up the good work.

Vincent

China Plate said...

Mr Whiskett's can you find out Steidl's official response/reason for doing this?
I think it is important to get their side of the story, don't you think?

Jeff Ladd said...

Does anyone know how to read the string of numbers you occassionally see on the colophon page.

Example:10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3

If it ends at 3 is it the third printing?

Vincent Borrelli said...

Jeff, it depends on the publisher. e.g., one publisher may designate the first printing with the string "10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2"; another may use "9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1"; etc. To further complicate matters, a publisher's printing/numbering convention may change over time. You just need to do a little homework sometimes to find out for a specific book (a good way is to compare with a book from the same publisher that you know for sure is a first printing (from around the same time period), and compare the numbers. If you ever have any photo books you need to check, feel free to ask anytime. I may be able to help. Vincent

bibliomaniac said...

I also believe distinguishing print editions is important as historical reference as well as padding the collector's economy. And Anonymous does have a little ground to stand on. Errata edtions and Loosestrife (both are run by avid book "collectors")publish "limited" editions, assumably to fatten someones pockets. Not a criticism, because they do outstanding work, just being honest here. And I bet the publishers (as is their right) hold back on a few of those limies for trade and resale down the road.

Anonymous said...

I received the copies of early color by Saul Leiter from bn.com and amazon.com. But appresently
it is no different, showed first edition in 2006. : )

But the quality of printed is not
good, is the scanning problem of Steidl digital dark room? or maybe
is it belonging to "actual early color"?

Anonymous said...

Steidl's intentions are perhaps revealed by this year's Soth Niagara in which is stated "First Edition 2008"

My gut feeling is that Steidl means to twit the secondary market.

If a "predatory vulture on amazon" (myself) is prescient enough to identify a great a book of lasting value -- maybe one in 20? of the dozens published every month -- to lay out a couple hundred dollars to purchase what -- one half of one percent of a publisher's print-run? -- then Steidl sucks for subverting this.

Moreover there are a great many great photobooks that remain in stock from publishers for years

The "predatory vulture on amazon" is probably not unlike a pothead who sells a little to support his habit.

So I (for one) will refrain from taking more chances on Steidl books. I can always get a "first edition" in two years

Jeff Ladd said...

Biblio,

Just to clarify, we offer the limited edition so we can get immediate production funds to work on the next books. If we relied on the revenue from the trade editions there would be absolutely no way to do more books. The numbers just do not add up. I would love my wallet to become fat believe me...you just don't go into publishing to accomplish that.

But I can always fucking dream right?? Forging ahead...

Don said...

For those who are interested: "First Editions: A Guide to Identification" by Edward Zempel and Linda Verkler is an excellent reference book. Almost 700 pages covering many many publishers going back to about 1900.

Don said...

Re: M. Mack and the fact that the book is unchanged from the first and therefore not another edition. There is a difference between "edition" and "printing." A new edition indicates something was changed--the publisher or the content or the format. A subsequent paperback is a new edition; adding images or a new introduction or foreword is a new edition; B&N picks up an out of print book and reprints it, it's a new edition. (Technically, you could argue that the "Second Printing" of Arbus' Aperture monograph is a second edition because they took a plate out, but what publisher is going to trumpet a new edition by saying we've reduced the number of plates!)

Printing refers to just that: when a batch of books was printed. For most publishers, they identify it in some way every time a new run of books is printed. Take Lyon's "Conversations with the Dead": first printing was November 1971 and the second printing December 1971, one month later, and it is so stated on the colophon. From the publisher's point of view, it's an indication of popularity, it's used for accounting purposes and it's an acknowledgement that people have collected books since books were first invented and for some of them, it's important and why not be forthcoming about the info.

The question is still: why would Steidl, virtually alone in the world of publishing, not include that information?

Jakob Thomsen said...

I ride a little pony but being an owner of "first" first editions of "Early Color" and also of Robert Frank's "Come Again", I still can't shake off feeling a tiny bit of disappointment.
I also have a copy Robert Polidori's "Havana" from Steidl. That book is clearly stated as "third Edition 2003". I always thought that book looked exactly the same the former editions, but perhaps Steidl did change something?... Or perhaps they've made a recent change of strategy?...

Jeff Ladd said...

Don,

Good comments and wise example with the Arbus.

To the anonymous about the printing...you may want to see Saul's prints. They have a color balance that is rather unusual so that may account for what you see as a flaw. It is actually close to the look of his actual prints. Just FYI.

Thanks for the comment.

b said...

What is especially disappointing is that now book sellers are selling these as "first printings" for a premium and stating that it's "not a newer reprint" when it obviously is.

And as Vincent pointed out it's especially disappointing when Steidl charges massive premiums for books that they have a "few remaining stock" left. Well what's to stop them from making another identical copy then? It's done in very poor taste.

This is a 1st edition second printing and should be stated as so. It's very crass of them not to do so. I sent Steidl an email asking them to explain and they have not responded of course.

9/11 was a false-flag black op said...

Well said, I agree. Steidl is trying to schtumpf the hand that feeds it. It's not poor taste as much as it is poor form

Anonymous said...

Sorry to be late to this conversation - because I'm surprised no one has said what I was told (and suspected):

Steidl printed both 'Early Color' and 'Come Again' once. That's why they are identical - they are identical. Many copies were printed - a number ungiven but probably close to 4,000. For different or the same reasons, the books were released in small numbers initially, and many were held back and just put in storage (Come Again waiting for the 'year of Frank' and 'Early Color' simply too expensive to throw to Amazon - best to craft it as a collectible with a tiny print run).

Cut to two years later when the demand is high - sell a lot of books - the rest (maybe) of the stack... calling them 'second printings'

...and don't tell anyone that 'we found more copies of the book' like they did with 'Angels in Fall' - a great book selling currently for either $40 or $300 even though they are -the same printing-.

The only difference between Angels and Early Color or Come Again is that Steidl is calling them 'second printings' on their website only.

That's why they jack up prices like with The Europeans - there are actually very few copies left because the book was printed pre-photobook craze and half werent chucked into storage - they only actually HAVE a few left...

I have both 'Early Color' and 'Come Again' in BOTH "printings" and can tell you - from someone with knowledge of printing and packaging... they are the same. Even the shrinkwrap ripples and splits in the same spot on my come again.

-----disclaimer: of course this is something I am purely speculating----- ...

not really.
(anonymous for this post)

Vincent Borrelli said...

Sounds correct to me that there would be only one print run with inventory released at different times. I retract any implication made about Steidl and think it's likely just a mistake in promoting the book by calling it a second printing (to explain more copies being available).

Anonymous said...

I disagree. As I pointed out above, Soth's Niagara reissue states "First Edition 2008"

How can that be explained or justified? Wasn't Niagara published in '06 or '07?

Vincent Borrelli said...

Sorry, forgot about your note above about Niagara. It was printed in 2006, which makes the "First Edition 2008" colophon erroneous. I'll ask Alec if it is a second edition. V

Vincent Borrelli said...

...actually, since the book was reprinted in 2008, noting the year must be Steidl's way of noting it's the second printing of the same/first and only edition of the book (nothing changed and it has the same ISBN as the 2006 printing). So, if it says "2008" it's the second printing...

Anonymous said...

Sure. It's a second printing. But it betrays Steidl's recent foray into twitting the secondary market, people making money selling books for five times their list

Some clever folks at Steidl decided this kind of tactic would act as a corrective. It has, but they neglected to consider that it is perceived (by some anyway) as an expression of contempt for the people that splurge on their product

To me it is fraudulent too, but who cares, it's just books

Vincent Borrelli said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Vincent Borrelli said...

As a participant in the secondary market, I can't say I feel twitted with. If there is a distinguishing difference, even if it's a little confusing and not a "standard" method of noting a new edition or printing, that's enough for me. It just means I need look a little closer at their titles. I don't think it's fraudulent.

Best,
Vincent

Don said...

I think we're talking about two different things here.

First is Niagara and how they designated the second printing. I agree with Vincent that there is nothing deceptive about that. As a matter of fact it is technically correct to call it a "First edition": it is still the same edition, just the second printing and by changing the date, Steidl has acknowledged that it is new printing.

The second issue is the emergence of new copies of Early Color. Since they seem to make note of subsequent printings in some cases, why not in this case? And if these are warehoused copies of the first printing, why call them a second printing? It may be that there are enough "new" copies that they can't sell them as "last" copies for more money and rather than depress the secondary market, they decided to call it a 2nd print. But if there is no distinction between these and the earlier ones, the strategy wasn't well thought out.

John Smith said...

This is aquestion/observation, I know that Steidl, and I guess other publishers often print ore copies than they bind, so for example a book that they dont know will seel in big numbers will have 1500 bound and another 1500 kept as un-cut sheets. If the first 1500 sel out and they decide to bind and sell the other 1500 copies what are these ? they have already been printed so you cant change anything except the binding. I would love to know if anyone knows more about this, maybe this is the reason for the slightly confusing extra first editions of early color. I am a photobook collector who like another person said buys a few extra copies of things I think will become valuable to fund my habit, so I feel for both sides of the argument.

Vincent Borrelli said...

John, that's still a first printing in my book. VB