1964 - When the Lion Feeds

Wilbur's first published novel. Starring Sean Courtney.

WHEN THE LION FEEDS was first published in New York on February 14, 1964 by The Viking Press. There were never any subsequent printings or editions. Not so with the first British edition.

WHEN THE LION FEEDS was first published in London by William Heinemann in 1964 and neither Wilbur nor Heinemann made any substantive changes to the content for the entire time that Heinemann continued to publish copies of WHEN THE LION FEEDS. So, all of the Heinemann copies of WHEN THE LION FEEDS are first editions. However, not all of them are first printings. An "edition" may enjoy multiple "printings."

In order for a book to go into a second edition, it needs to have substantive additions or deletions or other changes to distinguish it from the first edition. If one thinks of university textbooks, they are a great example. A first edition might differ enough from a second edition due to additional chapters being added, and perhaps one or more chapters being altered in order to correct mistakes or add information that has changed since the first edition was printed and published.

Heinemann ordered a first print-run (number of copies) of WHEN THE LION FEEDS. However, advance orders for the book by British Commonwealth booksellers, and, likely, also strong sales of the American Viking Press first edition convinced Heinemann to order another print-run prior to releasing WHEN THE LION FEEDS for sale to the public in the Commonwealth countries. The second print-run, or batch of books, that were printed have the words "reprinted before publication" included on the copyright page. Wilbur himself claims that 10,000 copies of WHEN THE LION FEEDS were printed as the first printing, but nobody (including himself) is sure if that 10,000 includes the second batch "reprinted before publication" copies or not. Most assuredly the number of copies of the "reprinted before publication" batch is smaller than the original number of copies printed in the first batch. Thus, a book from either batch is rare no matter what.

The true second printing of WHEN THE LION FEEDS was a third batch of books that were printed and offered up for sale in 1966. WHEN THE LION FEEDS enjoyed even more Heinemann printings throughout the years.

Click either front cover image for more information and numerous photos of the editions.

First American edition

First British edition