Black Sparrow print numbering, or how obsessive can one be? (1 Viewer)

Last night thumbing through my books I landed on (how nerdy is this) the copywrite page of my 80's softcover BSP copy of Post Office. When I read that it was the 38th printing from 1989 a lightbulb went off over my head.

My hardcover copy of Post Office is a fortieth printing from 1991 and I'd always been blown away that BSP did FORTY hardback printings of Post Office.

Realizing that the 38th print from 1989 and the 40th print from 1991 were operating within the same print line kind of surprised me as one is PB and one is HC. In my experience, the print lines tend to be distinct for hard and soft editions, though I could see how a small press would keep them together.

Anyway, I'm curious if anyone knows anything about this. Am I nuts? Was there a system? Every tenth printing was in hardback, etc? Or was it more like, when the hardbacks ran out, they'd do the next print run as a hardback?

The guts were the same for the paperbacks and hardcovers, so the printing info would be the same. A 40th printing hardcover might not actually be the 40th hardcover, if you follow. Some of the printings might not have been issued in hardcover. Say the 10th printing paperback sold well while the hardcover did not... the next hardcover may have been the 15th printing... doesn't mean that there were 4 hardcover editions in between. Am I making any sense at all?

... and yes, I am an asshole.
Ha! Yah, that's what I thought. Just fascinating, as that's different than I'm used to. The curious thing for me is, for instance, how many hardback Post Offices are there? I know the fortieth printing was hardback, but which others were? Then the OCD collector in me thinks, 'oh well I need one copy from every print run of Post Office...and of course, all the others.
I'm not sure how many people would be interested in this, though Chronic, you might. I have two hardbacks of Burning in Water. The first is a ninth print which has orange boards, an orange cloth spine, and the decorative design on the cover that separates the author's name from the title, and the title from the subtitle is in red.

The second is a nineteenth print that has orange boards, black cloth spine, and the design lines are in blue.

I'm not shocked about the cloth color change -- most of the later hardback BSP printings I have use a black cloth spine -- but the change on the cover from blue to red is really interesting because that's a pretty unique change. I'm wondering what the rationale was for that?
They letterpressed (most of) those covers in relatively small batches, so you can see inconsistencies like that in a lot of the BSP reprints.

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