Pocket Book 23
Here's another great Paperback Oddity submitted by Kenneth R. Johnson:
I recently took some old clothes to Goodwill. When I took them to the thrift store, I spotted a copy of Pocket Book 23, Ben Franklin's Autobiography. It was a "first printing: November 1939." When I got home I checked it against my shelf copy. It had the same cover, of course. So I checked to see what printing that one was. My old one said: "first printing: March 1940." What the Hell??
I spent about an hour comparing the 2 books side-by-side to see what the differences were.
Nov 1939 is 278 pages long. Mar 1940 is 384 pages. Besides the Autobiography both books contain a sampling of letters, essays and other of Franklin's misc. writings; the 1940 printing has a LOT more of them. The Autobiography itself is not quite the same in the two editions.
Nov 1939 is divided into chapters; Mar 1940 is not. Mar 1940 has a preface that Nov 1939 does not and has 5 more pages at the end. Both books are labeled as complete and unabridged, although it would seem that Nov 1939 is neither.
I suspect that something got screwed up in the production of the 1939 edition and it wasn't typeset correctly. I have no idea if they called back that printing or if it sold out before they had time to respond. Whatever the case, they obviously discovered the error and re-typeset it and issued a new first printing, from which all the later printings would be numbered.
Later, Ken did some more research on this odd book (research is just what Ken does), and he solved the mystery! Here's what he wrote me: