Unusual The Shining Stephen King first edition?


Hello, I’m thinking about listing a book on Amazon that I’ve had for many years, but I’m not certain it’s a first edition and I don’t want to run into problems with buyers if it isn’t.
I have an acceptable copy of The Shining By Stephen King with has some signs of a first edition with R49 on page 447 and has $8.95 on the inside jacket flab. The problem is that there is no publishers date or mention of Doubleday. The boards are red instead of the usual black. The pages also have a strange quality.
My late mother got it at a sale decades ago and it has been in my house for a long time. I’d like to sell it, but I don’t want any trouble or risk giving away something valuable. Also could it be a promo of the first and be very rare?


Not that I know a great deal about books, but if it is the original and worth the money, surely it’s worth getting it checked by someone, even at a cost before listing it?
But is there not better places to sell such things, rather than Amazon?


Sounds like it could be a proof although these usually state this somewhere, or maybe it’s just the mass market US edition perhaps? Are the page ends not even for instance?


Hello, Neil, I tried getting a valuation, but they never got back to me. I just don’t, it worries me accidentally selling something valuable.


Hello,it’s got R49 on the bottom of page 477 like firsts, but no date or publisher. The pages are even but feel different to other books. Would a proof copy be valuable? Would a mass marker still have R49?
A lot of people might be put off by the condition, but I just don’t know.


A few pictures might help, showing the jacket, boards, title page and title page verso.

Not that I know anything about Stephen King books, but maybe someone else here does. Sounds to me like a proof or a book club edition, but without seeing it or really knowing the subject it’s hard to know.


Hello, thanks. it’s got red boards with the gold title on the spine. There isn’t publisher or date mentioned, but it’s got it’s got R49 on the bottom left hand corner. My mother got it years ago thinking it was a first and put it in a cupboard. It might be a book club, but I worry it might be a proof copy.
I asked a internet shop, but they never got back in touch They don’t sell Stephen King, so that might be why. I don’t like selling something, if it could be rare.


Google is your friend - check this out, and there are others.
A quick read does suggest that the R49 indicates a first, but without a publisher then without seeing it could not be sure, Book Club editions are usually a bit smaller than the originals.


Selling proof copies of books is not permitted by Amazon unless the book is out of print.

Advance reading copies and uncorrected proofs are not permitted.


Book club sounds likely. UK book club editions can often be identified by a ‘CN’ mark. I’m not too sure about US editions - I believe it’s often difficult to tell book club editions with US titles. The ‘fedpo’ site might help, although it hasn’t been updated recently.



Hiya New English Library produced the UK 1st and Doubleday the US version - if you have no mention of either of these then you ve probably got a book club edition. In any case the UK version is probably worth about 200 quid and the US version 150 ish


Hi Ardoch Books,

I’m not a great SK fan but if your copy lack the words ‘FIRST EDITION’ on the copyright page, it’s unlikely to be a first… They usually took the wording off the page for subsequent printings and for Book Club issues.

What you might have is a mock-up for the book-club so they could see what it looked like before they went into production - but the BC edition would still, usually have the Doubleday name on…

My guess is a mock-up or proof - although the latter would usually have (plain) thick paper covers, and then a Jacket wrapped round.

I’ll check with a friend who’s a King enthusiast

All Best

PS if it has any oriental writing on e.g. the copyright page and is a lot thinner that ‘standard’ it’s probably a far-east rip-off copy (they did quite a lot of copies, years ago!)


To Neil, Devils in the Detail1, Bairstows, JillyB1,forr the links, Blue eyed Boy,Pudding__n_pie, interbookspontyprid & Brian2, thanks for the replies. Would the book club,mock or proof up be worth £200 or £150 in acceptable condition? I really know what to with it. I was going to list it, but there’s no date or publisher, so I’m glad I didn’t. I don’t really want to sell it, without knowing how much it would cost second hand or have someone entering a dispute, if they weren’t satisfied.
My mother got it at a jumble sale and was confused that there about there being no publishers date or Publisher, she thought it wasn’t real and just put it way in a cupboard in my family home and forgot about it.


@Ardoch_Books1If you want my honest opinion sell it elsewhere. I’m sure you will suffer lots of stress and loss if you sell it here.


I absolutely agree with this. Sell it on, for example, eBay where you can fully describe the book as it is and add your own photographs, with no claims that it is a first edition.


If you haven’t ring dominic winter auctions as they are very helpful


Hi Ardoch_Books

This is what my friend said:
"That copy of THE SHINING sounds like a pirated edition (usually from Taiwan). The dead giveaway would be a page in the very front that’s written in Chinese, but not all bootleg books have this. It would explain:

  1. “an acceptable copy”, because these books were cheaply made and really hard to fine in VG or better condition

  2. The lack of publisher’s date but still some correct first edition points, because they were bootlegs with no standards

  3. The “red boards”; if you look in my meager Collection thread on TDT you will see pictures of both bootleg King books I have, and they both are in red boards

  4. The “strange quality” of the pages, because they are made of super cheap paper and can sometimes be more like onionskin than anything.

One other way to check would be the size of the book block. Every bootleg edition I have is thinner than its “real“ counterpart. If it is skinnier than I’d make a good bet that it’s a pirated edition."

Personally, I’ve not seen any of these pirated copies that didn’t have oriental writing at the front, but all things are possible…

My friend would be interested in purchasing and would pay ca. £50 - if this is of interest I can try to put you in touch…

All Best



Hello, thanks to everyone who replied. I’ll think about everything. Brian.I think you’re right about it being a bootleg. The gold name on the spine is squint on the spine is squint ,that I think happened with manufacture. When my mother bought the book, the dust jacket was very worn with pieces missing and had stains behind it. Would that affect any value? I’ll think about your friend’s offer, but the jacket is in awful condition, so that might affect his view.


Hi Ardoch,

It would usually substantially reduce the value - I’ve asked him…

All Best



Hi Ardoch

Regret that in the condition you describe, he would not be interested