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Related: How do I know which printing of the PHB I have?

There's finally a PHB in-stock in our FLGS, I want to buy it but I read the above question and learned that there's a second printing with corrections of the first printing. Ideally, I'd like to grab a copy of the second more updated (and apparently, more durable, as I've read here but can't find the source) copy.

Problem is, I can't remove the PHB from its plastic wrap so I can't look at the credits as suggested in the answers to the above.

Is there a way to tell the printing of the PHB without opening it?

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  • \$\begingroup\$ @PurpleMonkey Eh, I decided to roll it back. You're right, it didn't really add anything. Plus, now I feel silly. I could just go the the store and compare the book with the picture. \$\endgroup\$ – daze413 Nov 9 '16 at 11:48
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Ask the FLGS owner about his return policy. Tell him you're specifically interested in getting the most recent printing of this book, but you're concerned that the only way to tell for sure is to open it up.

He MAY be willing to pull off the shrink wrap off and help you check, or he may have one from the same delivery batch that's already open. At the very least, he MAY be willing to take it back subject to store return policies.

If this FLGS is the kind of store that has tables and people hanging out, you could also ask around if any of the regulars had purchased a PHB from this recent delivery batch, and if so could you take a look to see what revision it is.

This is not a guaranteed solution, of course, but at least in my experience the FLGSes I've done business with have generally been understanding of us geeks and our attention to detail. If nothing else, you can ascertain how fully screwed you'd be if you bought it and it wasn't what you wanted.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I was fortunate enough to have been in the store at the same time the owner was in. After a brief chat, he agreed to open the book for me. This proprietor was better to deal with than his employees, it seems. \$\endgroup\$ – daze413 Nov 11 '16 at 0:09
  • \$\begingroup\$ Glad to hear it worked out. Am I correct in thinking you found the version you were looking for? \$\endgroup\$ – Steve-O Nov 11 '16 at 2:44
  • \$\begingroup\$ Yes. It really helps to communicate than to accept the rules as absolute \$\endgroup\$ – daze413 Nov 11 '16 at 7:37
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Without opening the cover, or using some other source of information as Airatome suggests, there is no way to tell. I have a pre-errata copy and a post-errata copy, and their covers are identical in every respect.

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    \$\begingroup\$ To be explicit, do the ISBN numbers (just above the bar code) match? \$\endgroup\$ – Joel Harmon Nov 6 '16 at 2:14
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    \$\begingroup\$ @JoelHarmon Yep, and the barcodes, and the EAN number, and the number next to "Printed in USA", and the blurb. \$\endgroup\$ – Miniman Nov 6 '16 at 3:04
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    \$\begingroup\$ That sounds pretty explicit; thanks for verifying. \$\endgroup\$ – Joel Harmon Nov 6 '16 at 3:10
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The 6th and currently most recent printing of the D&D 5E Players Handbook had Errata changes as early as September 2016 and was published on the Wizards of the Coast website in October. Since you can not open the PHB like in my local book stores, my best advice is to have a team member look up the information on the book / ISBN in question so they can tell you information on when it was ordered only they would know.

Keep in mind that this is not perfect, as the warehouse could very well have older printings in stock and sent one of them instead. Without opening up the PHB and looking at the credits there is no guaranteed way to know what printing you are about to purchase, but this CAN be mitigated a bit by using this: The current PDF of the PHB Errata , which includes all the changes made to 1st prints up to the current 6th printing. If you find any differences between your book and this PDF, then you have an older printing.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ @Nitsua60 I would have to know the exact differences to be sure. I have (as separate downloads) a pdf that reflects each released Errata. I only keep the most recent bookmarked. I recently paged through my friends physical copy to see if there were differences and his copy includes the above cited errata word for word. Any other variances in paragraph structure and such from book to book NOT included in the above must be minor. If you told me the differences I could probably pinpoint which version you had. \$\endgroup\$ – Airatome Nov 6 '16 at 1:17
  • \$\begingroup\$ Unfortunately, even asking when it was ordered won't necessarily help determine its printing, because the store's distributor could have had it in stock for who knows how long before the store ordered it. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Nov 6 '16 at 1:17
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    \$\begingroup\$ Right... which is why I said that..nearly word for word. It is the only non definitive way to get a general idea though. Nothing on the cover or ISBN would give it away. Sucks that it came wrapped up like that :( \$\endgroup\$ – Airatome Nov 6 '16 at 1:19
  • \$\begingroup\$ I work for a distributor. As someone who is constantly pestered by Principals (the manufacturers) that they have changed the product somehow, I know there is always a change in the barcode or the inventory number. I dont know if the change can be observable by the regular person. \$\endgroup\$ – daze413 Nov 6 '16 at 2:06

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