Let's assume there is some John Doe, who is an author of Some Book.

This book was published by Some Publisher in 1800, in 2 volumes. Then, it was published again in 1805, by the same publisher, with minor corrections.

And in 1810 it was published again, by the same publisher, but in 3 volumes, with images, preface, glossary, on handmade paper and in very limited quantity (only 300). And much more pricey, of course.

And this pricey "version" was published again, in 1815, by the same publisher, with minor corrections.


Do we have 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th editions here?

Or do we have 1st and 2nd and again 1st and 2nd editions?

I have already read the Wikipedia article about "edition", and it seems this question could be answered differently, i.e. from the bibliographical point of view, and from the publisher's point of view, and the publisher's point of view isn't consistent.

But I'm not sure.

Please give me some light on it. Probably there exists some strong and rigid classification for it?

  • Those are not your only choices. If Vol. 3 was entirely new material, the third time it was published, it would clearly be the first edition of Vol. 3, but the 3rd edition of Vols. 1 and 2. (See, for example, Knuth's The Art of Comuter Programming.) And you could argue that for consistency, even if material has been reshuffled, you should reference it the same way.
    – Peter Shor
    Jan 13, 2018 at 16:07
  • @PeterShor Interesting. But as I understand, in this case we need to count separate numbering for each volume, instead of numbering for overall "printed text", correct?
    – john c. j.
    Jan 13, 2018 at 16:33
  • Right. That's the standard way of doing it when the new volumes contain all new material. I don't think it makes as much sense when old material has been split among more volumes. But if you treat these cases differently, what do you do if Vol. 3 of the 3rd edition contains a mix of old and new material? What do you do then?
    – Peter Shor
    Jan 13, 2018 at 16:36
  • @PeterShor In terms of programming, it will cause stack overflow in my head :-) I understand, this system is not very elegant, but enduring.
    – john c. j.
    Jan 13, 2018 at 16:49


Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.