NBAward.com - First Edition Points for National Book Award Collectors
Welcome to the National Book Award First Edition Collecting Guide. This site is dedicated to collectors of first edition National Book Award winning books, specifically winners in the Fiction category. It provides crucial points of issue that can be used in the proper identification of first editions, and plenty of pictures to illustrate what to look for. We even provide quick search links for each book to sellers such as eBay and AbeBooks so you can instantly scan the market and see what a book is currently worth. We have points of issue for over 90% of the National Book Award novels. If you would like to contribute photos or other information about any of the missing books, or clarify points on one of our existing books, please drop us an e-mail message.
The National Book Award has honored the best of American Literature since 1950, and for many bibliophiles a National Book Award first edition collection is the cornerstone of their rare books library. Winning books include Williams Faulkner's A Fable, Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man, Walker Percy's The Moviegoer, Thomas Pynchon's Gravity's Rainbow, and Cormac McCarthy's All the Pretty Horses.
National Book Award Winners
There are many ways to use this guide. You can type in the name of a specific book in our Advanced Search; or click on a particual thumbnail; or choose "National Book Award Winners" from the menu; or browse by author by clicking on the bars at the bottom of this page.
April 11, 2021
Gravity's Rainbow was written by Thomas Pynchon. The first edition was published in 1973 by Viking. It was 760 pages long, and the retail price was $15.00.
The first edition points are as follows: Copyright page states "First published in 1973 in a hardbound and paperbound edition by The Viking Press, Inc., 625 Madison Avenue" with no statements of subsequent printings. Hardbound boards are orange with red letters on spine. The dust jacket carries price of $15.00 on the upper front flap and "0273" on the lower front flap. Back of dust jacket has SBN 670-34832-5 in white. Hardbound copies are preferable to paperbound copies.
The book club edition looks similar to the first hardbound edition, but it lacks a price on the dust jacket, and there is a blind stamp on the back board near the spine. Click here for photos...
This website is not affiliated in any way with the National Book Foundation, the National Book Award, or related parties. This site is intended as a simple guide to help collectors identify true first editions of books that have won the National Book Award. This site is overseen by an experienced collector of National Book award novels as a service to help guide other collectors and give them insight into what to look for when identifying first editions. As such, the information presented here may not always be 100% accurate. Gathering and updating information about these books is more an art than a science. We are very thorough in our investigations of first edition points, but occasionally some of our points may be wrong. If you spot a mistake, drop us an e-mail and we will do our best to investigate and fix it.
Note about our list:
Our list can appear to vary from the official National Book Foundation list because of three factors. The first is that our list is admittedly incomplete. We have about 90% of the winners for fiction. In particular, we are still missing Going After Cacciato, and Plains Song. We are trying to get those points of issue on the site very soon, and we welcome contributions of photos to help us get there.
The second factor is that we list the winners by Published Year, not the year it won the award. We do this to maintain consistency and to avoid confusion between nbaward.com and pprize.com where the prize award years can vary by a year or two. A good example of this is The Stories of John Cheever that was published in 1978. It then won the Pulizer in 1979, and the National Book Award for Fiction (paperback) in 1981. Also the Published Year is very important for first edition identification so we want to make sure that we don't obscure it with award years.
The third factor is that in the 1980's the National Book Award temporarily morphed into "The American Book Award" and two extra fiction categories were added - one for paperback and one for first time novel. These secondary awards are listed on the National Book Award website, but they are sometimes difficult to spot. The winners of the paperback fiction award from 1980 to 1983 are The World According to Garp, The Stories of John Cheever, So Long, See You Tomorrow, and The Collected Stories of Eudora Welty. Should these winners be ignored because they won for paperback and not hardcover? We don't think so, and thus we are listing them. But we show the points for the hardcovers and not the paperbacks because the hardcovers are the true first editions.
Also during the American Book Award era there was a First Novel Award (a.k.a. First Work of Fiction Award) with winners such as Birdie, Sister Wolf, Dale Loves Sophie to Death, The Women of Brewster Place, Stones for Ibarra, and Easy in the Islands. They are not currently on our list because we do not have photos of them.
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