Ask the Editor
Jane Mairs, Director of English language Learning Publishing
What is the difference between edition and version?
Monday August 6th 2012
What is the difference between edition and version?


Kathy in Eastern China asked, "What is the difference between edition and version?"


Great question! The uses of these two nouns are similar. Both edition and version are used to talk about stories, books, or other media content that has been changed in some way. However, there are significant differences that you should be aware of, as described below.

Edition is more limited. Use it when talking specifically about material that is published either in print or on digital media, such as radio, television, or the internet. More specifically, edition has three main meanings.

1) It can mean a particular version of a book or other media product, as in these sentences:

  • I am looking for a hardcover edition.
  • Do you have the latest edition of the software?

2) It can be used to mean all the copies of a book that are published at one time, as in this sentence:

  •  The errors were corrected in the book's second edition.

3) It is used to refer to one of the several versions of a newspaper or news show that are printed or broadcast each day, each week, or on some other regular schedule, as in this sentence:

  • The afternoon edition of the paper was sold on street corners all over the city.

Version is a broader term. It is sometimes used when referring to published material, especially new releases of software programs, but it can also be used to talk about stories or explanations that people share with each other, and about differences in style and form. See the sentences with version, below, for some examples.

  • Let me tell you my version of what happened.
  • A new version of the word processing program should be available soon.
  • This new design is better than the first version.
  • A film version of the novel is being made.

I hope this helps.