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How to Identify a First Edition of Carrie, by Stephen King

Stephen King published his very scary first novel, Carrie, in 1974. The novel was followed by the film version, starring Sissy Spacek, John Travolta, Piper Laurie and Amy Irving in 1976. Anyone who has read the book or watched the movie has a favorite scene - the buckets of blood, the crucifixion of Piper Laurie, the destruction of the town. Carrie has something for every lover of the horror genre. Stephen King followed Carrie with Salem's Lot in 1975 and The Shining in 1977. His reputation as a horror writer was established.

What if you loved reading Carrie so much you wanted to own the book, or decided to become a Stephen King collector? How much should you expect to pay for a first edition, and how will you know if it really is a first edition? There are a lot of people out there who would love to sell you a first edition, and many of those people are misrepresenting their book as a first, when it's really not. Most of these people probably don't know how to identify a real first. A few are unscrupulous.

A first edition of Carrie will cost you between $1000 and $7500 in the current market, depending on whether or not the book is signed. The condition of the book will also determine your cost. If you don't want to spend that kind of money, and have a fair amount of patience, you can start frequenting flea markets, rummage sales, and friends of the library sales. But what should you look for, whether buying from a dealer, or heading out to do your own legwork?

Carrie commands a high price because it's uncommon (there were only 30,000 copies of the first edition), and Stephen King remains highly collectible. King also rarely signs books, so a signed copy is extremely rare. You have more options to choose from if you don't have to have a signed copy. In this case, your determining factor, after edition, is the condition. Look for an intact copy of the book with a strong binding and very little soil and wear. The dust jacket should be as close to 'as new' as possible, with no tears or dirt, and the original price should be on the inside flap of the dust jacket. If you're reading a description of a particular copy of Carrie, and it doesn't include this information, go ahead and ask the person who is offering it to send you scans, and to describe it fully.

So, how do you tell if you've got a first edition?

A true first is the American edition, published by Doubleday in 1974. When you've got a copy in hand, look for these points:

A price on the inside front of the dust jacket - C. $5.95 - the C appears above the $5.95

The year 1974 printed on the title page, and on the copyright page - the copyright page is the reverse of the title page

The words First Edition on the copyright page

On the inner margin of page 199, the code P6

The binding is full maroon colored cloth - this means that the binding is all done in the same fabric, with no different colors or materials around the spine

Gold lettering on the spine

The endpapers are black- the endpapers are the pages that are stuck to the front and rear inside of the binding, and carry over to become the first and last pages of the book

All of these criteria must be met for the book to be a true first of Stephen King's Carrie. Be careful if you find a copy where the upper inside front flap of the dust jacket has been snipped off (where the price would be). This could indicate that this copy is a Book Club edition, not a first edition. The same is true if the jacket is missing.

Be careful in your purchasing, and have fun in the hunt.


lucid2day on December 17, 2016:

Thank you the hub. It has been most informative.

tunesntoons from Arlington Heights, Illinois on July 29, 2013:

I have a 1974 BCE, but there was no printed price, snipped or otherwise. Is this different somehow, and is it worth something?

Scott Lemaster on February 11, 2013:

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I have a first edition collectors autographed copy of insomnia. It was bought at auction. It is one of only 2000. Anyone know what it might be worth. I also have the sign from the auction to verify. on August 17, 2011:

just got a carrie book but the price is c$14.95 made in 74 is it a club addition?

Diann Kollet on May 23, 2011:

I have a 1974 book club edition however pages 119 through 134 have been cut off at the top, still stuck together at the top and appears to hever have been read, however all verbage is on the pages as the verbage goes further down to the bottom of the page. Is this worth anything.

lazerepilasyonn on March 23, 2011:

P.R.P. tedavisi ile zay?flayan saç köklerinin saç ekimi fiyati canlanmas? ?öyle gerçekle?tiriliyor : Önce hastan?n evden eve nakliyat venöz kan?ndan 10 cc al?n?r (1 çay barda??n?n 1/10 ‘u saç ekimi fiyatlari kadar). Santrifüj edilen kan beyaz ve k?rm?z? kan olarak iki k?sma ayr?l?r. K?rm?z? kanda akyuvar, trombosit, p?ht?la?ma faktörleri, PGF (Trombosit büyüme faktörü)’ler bulunur. K?rm?z? kan özel bir i?leme tabi tutulduktan sonra seyrelmi? bölgeye napaj yöntemiyle enjekte edilir. Bu uygulaman?n temeli doku Sac ekimi fiyatlari ama evden eve nakliyat ile ankara2012. saç ekimi yenilenmesine dayanmaktad?r. Toplam 30 dk evden eve nakliyat süren bu saç ekimi fiyati i?lemde herhangi bir ac? duyulmuyor, iz olu?muyor. Uygulama yap?lan ki?i normal hayat?na geri dönebilir.

veetre on November 13, 2010:

Hello, I am very excited to have found your site. I have a copy of "Carrie" I bought at a yard sale nearly a quarter century ago. I have always thought it was a first edition but know there is often confusion. You article allows me to know my copy is a real first edition. It has everything from the "c." to the "p6". I do have a couple of questions. I am interested in selling the book and it is in mint condition except for the fact the dust cover has been taped on. From the inside, so it doesn't show from the exterior. Also,there is a stain that appears to be the residue of an owners tag on the black front page. Questions: Should I, can I get it restored? How do I authenticate it for sale? Thanks, Robert on October 13, 2010:

I have a question if any collectors could help me. I didn't know the difference from a book club edition to a 1st edition when I had Stephen King sign the book for me. The autograph is authentic and it is signed and dated, it is of Pet Sematary. However, it is a book club edition, since the autograph is authentic, could it still have any true value, if so, how much do you think? I might have to put it on Ebay, I've fallen on financial hardtimes and need to sell my stuff, if anyone here interested in the making an offer, email me, I just don't know what price to ask for that would be fair to me and the buyer

adorababy from Syracuse, NY on June 10, 2010:

These are really neat tips for those into the collection hobby. The made into movie novel is one of the masterpieces of Stephen King. on July 31, 2009:

Hi... I just purchase an edition of Carrie at half-price books that I thought could potentially be a first-edition and thought I was practically stealing it for 5 bucks. But it's not a first edition. It's a red-cover Doubleday book and doesn't have any of the identifying features of a first edition. But on the copyright page it says 1974, but there's no 1974 on the title page. Is this the "book-club" edition or what? And, not that I would sell it or anything but would it be worth anything?

AndyBaker from UK on April 01, 2009:

Hmmm - good to know.

If I ever come across a first edition...

Book Collecting on August 15, 2008:

Hi there, I'm an avid book collector (I've made a blog... click on my name!) and I like this Hub. It's factually correct and I will keep your Hub in mind if I am ever lucky enough to get my hands on a first edition Carrie!

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