DescriptionJ. K. Rowling. Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone. London: Bloomsbury, . First edition. Octavo. 223, [1, blank] pages. Publisher's pictorial paper over boards, no dust jacket, as issued. Very minor rubbing to corners; a single small, inconspicuous bump on the lower edge of the rear board. Faint marginal toning (as is common); gutter margin between half-title verso and title page only slightly over-opened. Nearly fine. A remarkably bright and clean copy, hardly ever seen in this condition. One of 500 copies published, intended primarily for libraries. Philip W. Errington: J. K. Rowling: A Bibliography 1997-2013, A1(a). From a Private Collection in St. Charles, IL.
In 1996, Rowling completed the full manuscript of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone. After a harrowing process of finding a literary agent and then submitting copies to publishers, Bloomsbury acquired the publishing rights and offered Rowling a 1,500 advance. They also suggested that Joanne write under the gender-free pseudonym "J. K. Rowling" as the target audience would be young male readers.
The publishing house released 500 copies of the book in 1997, approximately 300 of which would be sent to English libraries. Bloomsbury co-founder and chief executive Nigel Newton is quoted, "I think the assumption in 1997 would have been that you would sell 500 hardcovers of any good book to public libraries so that edition would be aimed at them. The general edition for the market would be paperback." According to Philip W. Errington's bibliography, this hits at the reason for the lack of a dust jacket for the first edition--there wasn't necessarily a need for one if it was being distributed primarily for library use.
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