A Brief History
Random House
Weekly Reader

  1.  Terror Castle
  2.  Stuttering Parrot
  3.  Whispering Mummy
  4.  Green Ghost
  5.  Vanishing Treasure
  6.  Skeleton Island
  7.  Fiery Eye
  8.  Silver Spider
  9.  Screaming Clock
10.  Moaning Cave
11.  Talking Skull
12.  Laughing Shadow
13.  Crooked Cat
14.  Coughing Dragon
15.  Flaming Footprints
16.  Nervous Lion
17.  Singing Serpent
18.  Shrinking House
19.  Phantom Lake
20.  Monster Mountain
21.  Haunted Mirror
22.  Dead Man's Riddle
23.  Invisible Dog
24.  Death Trap Mine
25.  Dancing Devil
26.  Headless Horse
27.  Magic Circle
28.  Deadly Double
29.  Sinister Scarecrow
30.  Shark Reef
31.  Scar-Faced Beggar
32.  Blazing Cliffs
33.  Purple Pirate
34.  Wandering Cave Man
35.  Kidnapped Whale
36.  Missing Mermaid
37.  Two-Toed Pigeon
38.  Smashing Glass
39.  Trail of Terror
40.  Rogues' Reunion
41.  Creep-Show Crooks
42.  Wreckers' Rock
43.  Cranky Collector

Book of Mystery Puzzles

Find Your Fate
  1.  Weeping Coffin
  2.  Dancing Dinosaur
  7.  House of Horrors
  8.  Savage Statue

  1.  Hot Wheels
  2.  Murder To Go
  3.  Rough Stuff
  4.  Funny Business
  5.  An Ear For Danger
  6.  Thriller Diller
  7.  Reel Trouble
  8.  Shoot the Works
  9.  Foul Play
10.  Long Shot
11.  Fatal Error


Before digging into the history, collecting and conservation of The Three Investigators books, I thought it best to provide some basics. The following information and terminology on books, book collecting and publishing/bookbinding are used extensively throughout this site and hopefully will help if you are not already familiar with them.

Editions vs. Printings

Although many book collectors use the two interchangeably, an edition and a printing are not the same thing. An edition changes when there is a change in the publisher, text, typeface or binding format and a printing changes when an additional amount of an edition is printed. An edition of a book is typically printed in a given quantity (called a "print run" or just "run"), and that quantity is then sold/distributed before an additional amount is printed. The first run represents the First Printing and the following run represents the Second Printing, etc. If there is a change in the publisher, text, typeface or binding, a new edition is published with its own set of printings. Thus, there can be a First Edition/First Printing, First Edition/Second Printing, Second Edition/First Printing, and so on.

In general, book collectors usually strive to collect the First Printing of a given edition, as later printings are often viewed as less important "copies" of the original. In the case of The Three Investigators books, each edition had multiple printings and identifying the First Printing is discussed in each publisher's section.

Bookbinding and Publishing Terminology

Note: most of the bookbinding definitions do not apply until the Conservation section. For convenience, they will be repeated there.

Binding -- noun The materials that hold a book together. There are two formats of bindings: hardcover and paperback. Most modern hardcover books have a case binding and most paperback books have a wrapped binding. | verb Assembling a book.

Boards -- noun The stiff cardboard on the front and back of a hardcover book that is covered with leather, cloth or paper to form the covers.

Case -- noun In a hardcover book, the combination of the covers, spine and spine inlay.

Case Binding -- noun A very common type of hardcover binding utilizing a case and textblock. All Three Investigators hardcover books have a case binding.

Covers -- noun In a hardcover book, the boards after they are covered with leather, cloth or paper; referred to as the "front" and "back" covers. In a paperback book, the one-piece heavy stock paper that wraps around the textblock to create a front cover, back cover and spine.

Cover Art - noun Drawing or artwork that graces the front cover.

Crash -- noun The sturdy, open-weave cloth that extends onto and under the pastedown endpapers to form the hinge and is glued to the spine lining. It is typically reinforced with a thick piece of flexible paper along the spine lining side. The crash is also referred to as the super.

Endpapers -- noun The sheets of paper pasted to the inside of the front or back cover (pastedown endpaper) and to the edge of the flyleaf (free endpaper). Endpapers are used in hardcover books only.

Flyleaf -- noun A blank page (or pages) inserted between the free endpaper and the beginning or end of the printed pages.

Gathering -- noun A folded printed sheet of pages prior to binding; referred to as a signature after binding.

Hinge -- noun The interior flexible area where the pastedown endpaper meets the spine lining and crash; this is the inner equivalent of the joint.

Insertion -- noun Additional page (or pages) placed into a textblock containing photographs, advertisements, etc.

Issue -- noun An entire printing published in a form differing from the rest of the edition's printings. An issue will have relatively minor differences in paper, binding, size, covers, etc.

Joint -- noun The exterior flexible area where a board meets the spine; this is the outer equivalent of the hinge.

Rebound -- adjective Describing a book which has had the original binding removed and a new binding attached. | verb Removing an existing binding and replacing it with a new one. Libary books are typically rebound when their existing binding has become worn or damaged and it can no longer hold the book together. See the Collecting section for more information on rebound Three Investigators books.

Signature -- noun A gathering bound with other signatures and trimmed.

Spine -- noun The back portion of a book's binding; the portion which is attached at the joints to the covers.

Spine Inlay -- noun A stiff cardboard that forms the inner side of the spine and sits below the crash. It is not glued to the crash or spine lining.

Spine lining -- noun The side of the textblock that faces the spine and is attached to the crash.

State -- noun A portion of a printing with minor alterations to the text, flyleaves or the addition/modification of insertions.

Textblock -- noun The completed and trimmed assembly of the signatures and flyleaves, held together by glue or stitching. The side of the textblock that faces the spine is called the spine lining.

Typeface -- noun The face or style of printed letters, also referred to as the font. The changing (resetting) of typeface in book usually requires a change in edition.

Variant -- noun A slight difference in binding or endpapers within a given printing.

Wrapped Binding -- noun The most common paperback binding in which the covers (as a one-piece heavy stock paper) wrap around the textblock. All paperback Three Investigators books have a wrapped binding.

International Standard Book Number

The International Standard Book Number (ISBN) is part of a system of numerical identification for books, pamphlets and other publications. By assigning a unique ten-digit number to each published title, the system provides that title with its own, unduplicated, internationally recognized "identity." The ISBN system was introduced into the United States in 1968 and adopted as the standard in 1969. ISBN's were first assigned to Three Investigators books in early 1971, when the entire existing series was reprinted. More information on this can be found in the Random House section.

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This page last updated on 30-Aug-04