Unknown Edition?

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Reikon Suchi-ru 31/Dec/2006 at 03:54 PM
Interrogator of Mordor Points: 13828 Posts: 13959 Joined: 11/Dec/2002
I bought a set of Lord of the Rings books from this Used-Book Store near my home because I thought the covers were interesting, and I enjoy collecting entire sets as opposed to single books at a time. So, anyways, here’s my dilemma: Upon arriving home, I noticed the books had no ISBN numbers. Therefore, I concluded they were too old to have them; yet, they looked so new. So, I looked on the inside cover, and found they were published in 1995, so they can’t be too old. So, I was just wondering if anyone recognized them. The inside cover says "This edition was specially created in 1995 for Quality Paperbacks Book Club by arrangement with Houghton Mifflin, Inc. This edition copyright 1995 by Book-of-the-Month Club, Inc. All rights reserved. Cover Design by Monica Elias. Cover illustration by Richard Beards." I’d also like to know that, since they’re in impeccable condition, if they were worth anything?

Agravaine 31/Dec/2006 at 05:18 PM
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IIRC, many collectors regard book club editions of anything as worthless because of their inferior production quality.
Captain Bingo 01/Jan/2007 at 02:33 AM
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As Agravaine says, Book Club editions tend to be of inferior quality - not always the case, but generally speaking, because they are offered at a lower price the production quality is sacrificed. That said, sometimes Book Club editions of certain works are the only ones you can get hold of at a reasonable price - or even get hold of at all. I struggled to to find an edition of Mr Bliss that wouldn’t break the bank for a long time. I eventually found a Book Club edition in a second hand bookshop in Lincoln earlier this year for £10 - very nice little h/b in very good condition. (I also picked up a nice Allen & Unwin h/b of Farmer Giles from 1974 for the same price.)




Endril 01/Jan/2007 at 04:07 AM
Healer of Imladris Points: 9193 Posts: 9362 Joined: 15/Jan/2006
Reikon: ever heard about pirate editions? Well, I beleive that you have one now. No isbn and published in 1995. Also the covers are not quite suited even if the colors look good. Try comparing the content with a book that you really know it’s original and see if you find differences. If you do you have pirate edition.
Reikon Suchi-ru 01/Jan/2007 at 09:08 AM
Interrogator of Mordor Points: 13828 Posts: 13959 Joined: 11/Dec/2002
To be quite honest, this set cost more than my 1982 Hard-back set! The binding certainly isn’t of inferior quality; the books seem durable, and just as sturdy as other paperbacks I have of the same size. Since the inside cover says "This edition was specially created in 1995 for Quality Paperbacks Book Club by arrangement with Houghton Mifflin, Inc" I don’t think it’s pirated, Legolas. I’m just wondering if anyone else has ever seen these books. Guess not!
geordie 01/Jan/2007 at 09:31 AM
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It isn’t a pirate ed - as Reikon say, they were produced by the Quality Paperback Club in association with Houghton Mifflin, Tolkien’s US publishers.

As a rule, book-club editions are usually not very sought-after, as they can be of inferior quality; such as BCA [Book-Club Associates] in the UK. On the other hand, some book club editions are very good quality, and their comparative rareness can make them very much sought-after.

Examples are: the 1942 Foyles ’Children’s Club ed. of The Hobbit, and also the Readers’ Union ed. of LotR of 1960. Both of these items have first edition texts of their respective stories. Other, more ’up-market’ book clubs [I say book clubs; one at least isn’t a club as such] are The Folio Society in the UK, and The Easton Press in the US. Both these firms turn out fine quality books, which will last a long time, and they look good, too.

As for the Quality Paberback Club ed - I have one of these myself. [in fact, I have copies of all the editions I’ve mentioned]. These aren’t valuable as such, but very well made; all three vols. have a proper full-sized fold out map at the back [very important, this - and the maps are based on the updated 1981 UT map, with Lond Daer etc] - and RK has the full set of appendices, and the index. A proper, good set. I even like the covers!

QPB also brought out two very useful anthologies of Tolkien criticism - ’A Reader’s Companion to The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings’ in 1995, and also ’The QPB Companion to The Lord of the Rings’ pub. in 2001. There’s some cross-over between the two volumes - the books contain essays and reviews by Ursula K. le Guin; CS Lewis; W H Auden, and even a basher - Edmund Wilson’s ’Oo these Awful Orcs’.

The quality of the LotR volumes, and of the companions, is very high. I recommend them - if you can find any! Reikon - you did well to get a set!


Reikon Suchi-ru 01/Jan/2007 at 09:40 AM
Interrogator of Mordor Points: 13828 Posts: 13959 Joined: 11/Dec/2002
geordie - Heh, yea, I love the set, as it is of great quality. It’s not my reading set, but it certainly could be! You’ve single-handedly spurred my interest in collecting the books, and here is another set I got the other day:



They’re a Paperback set published in 1978 by Houghton Mifflin. In excellent condition; the only thing is that Fellowship’s cover has a crease in the upper right edge (this actually happened in transit from the store to my home, you can bet I was angry at myself for it!)
Alcarináro 01/Jan/2007 at 09:43 AM
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Those were my first copy of LotR.
Reikon Suchi-ru 01/Jan/2007 at 09:46 AM
Interrogator of Mordor Points: 13828 Posts: 13959 Joined: 11/Dec/2002
My first set was the movie set.
geordie 01/Jan/2007 at 10:15 AM
Hugo Bracegirdle Points: 20570 Posts: 14087 Joined: 06/Mar/2005
the only thing is that Fellowship’s cover has a crease in the upper right edge (this actually happened in transit from the store to my home, you can bet I was angry at myself for it!)

Eep! that’s a shame. I always take great care with me books, whether they’re expensive or not. [bitter experience has told how easy it is to damage a binding or a dustrapper!]. My friends and family smile at the way I wrap the books for carrying around - plastic bubblewrap bags, and sturdy boxes if the books are going on a long car journey. When I went to pick up my boxed set of Scull-Hammond recently, the assistant was a bit bemused to see the ’pilot’ style briefcase I took along, to carry the box home in. And when I went over to me family’s for the New Year, I found the sturdy multi-part box which my latest Folio Society LotR arrived in, very useful!

At a book-fair once, I was shown a signed first ed. first printing Hobbit, in dust-wrapper. The lady held the book out for me to see; and hastily withdrew it when I innocently reached out [thinking she was offering for me to hold the thing, and to leaf through the pages. I’ve handled this sort of thing before, y’know!] I was a bit surprised at the lady’s attitude, but another dealer put me right, when I told him the story later. ’How much did they have on the book?’ he asked. I told him. ’Well,’ he continued, condition is everything. If you’d dropped the book and dented a corner, you’d take 25% off the value of the book. Could you repay 25% of the value of the book??’ ’No’, I replied.

I should say not - the bookdealer had £80,000 on the book: if I’d dropped it, it could have cost me £20,000!
Cor!
geordie 01/Jan/2007 at 10:25 AM
Hugo Bracegirdle Points: 20570 Posts: 14087 Joined: 06/Mar/2005
BTW - ref. that set of 1978 books - I have a set, in a box with TH. My FR is the 15th printing; and the latest date on the copyright page is 1987 [for the Note on the Text by Doug Anderson]. So, though the text is copyright 1965 [the latest revision up till that time, at least in the US] the actual books were’nt printed till much later.

If yours has a copy of the Note on the Text, I’d recommend it - very interesting. But bear in mind that Doug revised that Note later; and if you want the very lates info, you must go to Hammond and Scull.

I like the American editions; in general, they’re very good quality, and they’re physically bigger than the UK variety, too - easier to handle as well as to read.
Reikon Suchi-ru 01/Jan/2007 at 10:42 AM
Interrogator of Mordor Points: 13828 Posts: 13959 Joined: 11/Dec/2002
geordie - On the back cover of these books is printed "Houghton Mifflin, copyright 1978" and on one of the title pages, this version is referred to as being "Second Edition". I cannot, however, locate which printing it is, or I would be able to come up with a more reliable date as to the printing of this particular book set. It does not have the ’Note on the Text’ of which you speak, so that would lead me to believe it’s an older set.
geordie 01/Jan/2007 at 11:13 AM
Hugo Bracegirdle Points: 20570 Posts: 14087 Joined: 06/Mar/2005
For Reikon - and also for anyone else interested in collecting Tolkien, I can recommend ’JRR Tolkien: A Descriptive Bibliography’ by Wayne G.Hammond with the assistance of Douglas A.Anderson; Oak Knoll Books 1993.

This is the ’industry standard’ bibliography; strictly for collectors and dealers. It’s crammed full of info on all of Tolkien’s writings. It’s horribly expensive [Sorry, Wayne    ] - but a _must_ for a serious Tolkien biblionut like me. I recommend anyone interested to hie themselves off to their local library, and order a copy on inter-library loan. They don’t often come up for sale second hand - anyone who’s bought one is likely to be someone who really, really needs it! And so is unlikely to sell. [you can’t have mine; it’s inscribed to me and signed by the author!]


I’ll tell you how invaluable it is to me - it does’nt have a place on my bookshelves! [think about it]... What I mean is, I use it so often, it does’nt have a chance to find a permanent home in the geordie Tolkien library - it lives quite happily in a bubblewrap wrapper, inside a strong carton, and it travels all over the house with me. Right now, it’s down by my feet, in the study. I’ve used it once or twice already this evenong. As I say- invaluable!
Merimac Roper 02/Jan/2007 at 06:33 AM
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On the Hammond & Scull website, Christine has the following notation:

"Oak Knoll Press have confirmed their interest in a second edition of Wayne’s J.R.R. Tolkien: A Descriptive Bibliography. He will begin work on this soon. Meanwhile, Oak Knoll have taken this book back to press for a third printing."

By the way - Happy New Year everyone.