I recently picked up a copy of a book edition of A Charlie Brown Christmas (a statement that I can make more frequently than perhaps any other human.) Attentive AAUGH Blog reader Thomas alerted me to this auction. It took sharp eyes to notice this, as the difference between this and some other copies of the same book can slip right by.
The version I already have copies of is in the left on this photo; the newly acquired one is on the right. Both have the same “first printing” information on the inside, a thing that often trips up people looking at this book: all of the printings list “first printing” information, none of them have a separate printing listing telling you which printing this actually is. But clearly, they are different printings.
Placed side to side, you can probably quickly spot that they are different — the size of the logo immediately jumps out. There’s fewer holly leaves to the left of the logo. The logo isn’t outlined, and if you look real close, the publisher information in the lower right is in a different font. If you are squinting down at that publisher text, you might hep on to another difference: that newly acquired copy has brown text, as opposed to a slightly metallic gold color. In fact, all of the gold color has disappeared – no more gold outline on the logo, and the holly leaves were gold on the original. So what this appears to be is cheaper printing, using fewer color plates.
“Cheaper” accords with the inside as well. Gone are the red, textured endpapers; it’s just white ones instead. And the paper feels a bit cheaper and rougher, perhaps less white (although that may more reflect how the book has been stored than the original color.)
Ah, but how can we tell which of these came first. That’s simple: here’s a picture of the book that ran with a review in the Sioux City Journal on November 7, 1965 (i.e., before the TV special aired):
So clearly (and unsurprisingly), the more expensive one came first. (Of course, you could suggest that what’s pictured here is a copy with the dust jacket, and maybe the original ones had the smaller-logo dust jacket but the larger logo version under the dust jacket…. but that would defy reasonability.)
And thus I am put in position of having to decide: is this enough of a variation for me to list it as a different edition in The AAUGH.com Evergreen, Evergrowing Guide to A Charlie Brown Christmas Books? Prob’ly… but not today. I’ve got too much going on.