Revised edition vs. second edition? Reprint? Do you need to know the printing terminology?
I recently received an e-mail from a client whose book had been featured in the New York Times, on PsychologyToday.com and throughout regional and local press. After self-publishing, she is now in talks with foreign publishers interested in the international rights. At the same time, she saw the need to update the original US version of the book, which was self published, in order to provide the latest information and advances in the technology she describes at the end of her book.
She wondered, “How much new material is needed for a second edition of a book? Do I need a new ISBN number?” Many authors wonder, “What’s the difference between a revised edition and a new edition of a book? When is it just a reprint?”
When only minor changes are made (such as fixing typos), the new printing would be considered a reprint. Beyond a reprint, if the majority of the material is the same and there are just a few new updates, an author might consider calling the new version a “revised edition” rather than a “second edition.” However, if there is substantial change to the book, “second edition” would be more accurate. The difference between the two is subjective.
Do note that providing the latest data, or the most up-to-date information is certainly a plus from a marketing standpoint–and, therefore, something you want to emphasize to book-buyers. It would certainly be beneficial to state something like, “Revised edition includes new treatment options” on the book’s cover.
Do You Need a New ISBN for a Second Edition?
To answer the author’s second question: “If a second edition has the same title as the first, does it need a new ISBN?” I checked with Bowker, the issuer of ISBNs and Bowker states, “A new edition is considered a different product and gets its own ISBN.” From reading the Bowker website, it seems clear that new editions also mean revised editions–anything other than a reprint with a few minor fixes.
Do you have any publishing questions? Feel free to ask here as a comment and I will answer!