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ON THE ROAD

by Kerouac, Jack

Condition: Good++/Good++


Viking, 1957. 1st edition. Hardcover. Good++/Good++. Hardcover in dust jacket. 1957 1st edition in a first state dust jacket. Black cloth binding with title in white on front board and spine. Cloth is lightly damp spotted. Corners are worn. Previous owners name and town on first free endpaper. Endpapers and pastedowns are lightly soiled and oxidized. Text is clean, binding is tight. Black dust jacket is chipped at all corners, spine ends and edges. Creased closed tears. Some rubbing and scuffing. Outer flyleaf edge is noticeably rubbed. Soil. This is a true first edition with a first state dust jacket, with all the points present: $3.95 price on front flyleaf, From On the Road printed on the rear dust jacket, which has blue and red bands on the upper and lower edges.

Perhaps the most famous and influential of the Beat novels, Jack Kerouac's On the Road represents much of what made the Beat and Counterculture movements so unique and important. The plot concerning the road trips and adventures experienced by Kerouac and his friends is well-known, as are the rumors and tall tales of the books' production. Kerouac often claimed that the wrote On the Road in a mere three weeks on a single 120-foot scroll of paper. Although that scroll does indeed exist and is featured in museums, Kerouac kept detailed journals of his travels that would later become passages and chapters in the finished product. The book was first published by Viking in 1957. True first printings of the book include the $3.95 pricing information on the top right hand corner of the front inside dust jacket flap. Later printings and subsequent book club editions do not feature the price in that location. Additionally, a photo of Kerouac is featured on the back inside cover flap along with a brief description of the author. Viking Press would go on to publish an edited version of On the Road in 2007 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the first printing. They substituted the fictional names for the real Beat protagonists, and they even included some of the more sexually explicit passages that were edited out of the 1957 edition. Due to the cultural significance of the book, true first editions/first printings of On the Road are quite valuable. But be warned: it is easy to mistake reprints or book club editions for the real thing, so always check with an expert before making a significant purchase.


  • Bookseller: Koster's Collectible Books US (US)
  • Bookseller Inventory #: INVENT024986I
  • Title: ON THE ROAD
  • Author: Kerouac, Jack
  • Format/binding: Hardcover
  • Book condition: Used - Good++
  • Jacket condition: Good++
  • Edition: 1st edition
  • Binding: Hardcover
  • Publisher: Viking
  • Date published: 1957


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On Sep 3 2011, West of Eden Books said:
  "A few years ago, 50 years after its initial publication, and 35 years since I had read it for the first time myself, I loaned my battered paperback copy of On The Road to a young friend of mine who had asked me "What should I read next?". Her reaction was, as I would have hoped, overwhelmingly positive. "It made me want to go hitchhiking" she told me. She didn't go, of course, that's considered too dangerous these days, but she caught the spirit of Kerouac from those yellowed old pages and that made me happy. It made me remember myself from the days before I was twenty. When the world was wide-open in front of me with all my limitless imagination and inexhaustible energy to carry me forward. Those two-and-a-half-hundred pages created in a Benzedrine-fueled typing frenzy spoke to both of us across generations as great writing is meant to do. Jack's tales of Casady, Ginsberg, Burroughs, and the rest would continue in his books that followed but the spirit and zest of On The Road stand alone. Bob Dylan said of On The Road, "It changed my life like it changed everyone else's". Myself and my young friend were lucky enough to experience it that same way."

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Glossary

Some terminology that may be used in this description includes:
spine
The outer portion of a book which covers the actual binding. The spine usually faces outward when a book is placed on a shelf....[more]
rubbing
Abrasion or wear to the surface. Usually used in reference to a book's boards or dust-jacket.
tight
Used to mean that the binding of a book has not been overly loosened by frequent use.
First Edition
In book collecting, the first edition is the earliest published form of a book. A book may have more than one first edition in...[more]
jacket
Sometimes used as another term for dust jacket, a protective and often decorative wrapper, usually made of paper which wraps...[more]
Cloth
"Cloth-bound" generally refers to a hardcover book with cloth covering the outside of the book covers. The cloth is stretched...[more]
edges
The collective of the top, fore and bottom edges of the text block of the book, being that part of the edges of the pages of a...[more]
soiled
Generally refers to minor discoloration or staining.
first state
used in book collecting to refer to a book from the earliest run of a first edition, generally distinguished by a change in some...[more]

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