Manuscript Preparation, Copyediting, and Proofreading

Q. We published a book in 2014 and did not think it would need a second printing. The book has since sold out, and now we plan to issue a second printing in 2017. Is it overkill to include an impression line on the copyright page? We do not plan a third printing, but, of course, we were wrong the first time. We would have something like

17    2

in the second. Is it ever appropriate to indicate the second printing in a narrative form?

A. There are probably many editors who have found themselves in this position. It’s never inappropriate to add helpful information. “Second printing” or “2nd printing” would be crystal clear, but if you prefer to have an impression line, “17    2” would baffle most readers. To make a traditional second-impression line for a book published in 2017, write something like

21 20 19 18 17    2 3 4