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Edition vs Impression vs Reprinting vs Printing vs Reissue

Edition, impression, reprinting, printing, reissue are capable of being distinguished when used to designate the total number of copies of the same work printed during a stretch of time.

Edition, as now used by publishers and to some extent by printers, applies to all the books and also to all the newspapers printed from the same type or plates made from it. Terms such as special edition, limited edition, and anniversary edition are sometimes used to indicate the particular form or format in which a fixed text is presented; but in United States copyright law a different edition must incorporate some material addition to or revision of the original matter.

Hence, when the first edition gives way to the second edition, the second edition to the third edition, and so on, a definite change in content is implied. The work may have been revised in whole or in part, whether by bringing it up-to-date or by varying it (this is especially true of newspapers) to suit a particular clientele, but in all cases there must have been changes involving an entire or partial resetting of type before a work can be said to go into a new edition.

Impression applies to all of the books (also prints or engravings) run off by the press at one time. The standing type or plates are then stored until a later impression (often called a reprinting ) is needed. It is now the general practice among publishers to speak of the aggregate number of copies of a new book run off from the press in a large number and at one time (or, in technical language, printed in a continuous run from a single make-ready) as an impression rather than an edition, thereby respecting the latter word’s implication of substantial changes in content.

Printing is often used as practically equivalent to impression or reprinting but it is sometimes preferred as implying some minor corrections.

Reissue is used to denote a republication, usually after some time, of a work which is out of print. The reissue may differ in price from the original edition or impression owing to changes in paper or in binding, and it may differ in further ways requiring a resetting of type in whole or in part.