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Re: The Wonders of...
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For what it is worth, the communications with the seller

Me:
"I think you should make it abundantly clear in the auction that this is the current Print on Demand edition (which can be purchased direct from HarperCollins for 50 pounds). Your price and description ("a rare chance", etc) seem designed to imply that this is the rarer and more valuable 1996 edition, whereas it isn't rare, and it isn't valuable. Salesmanship is one thing, but this feels like a dishonest auction to me, if not technically in contravention of any rules"


Reply:
"Hi, I have included a hi-res picture of the copywrite page. Both my listing and e-bay stress that any potential buyer should look at any photos as these form part of the description. The image clearly shows the year of print for all to see - after all how else did you see it? To me this seems pretty obvious. Though I have to admit I wasn't aware of any Print on Demand editions as I obtained the book as part of a set. I'm 100% positive that the listing does NOT contravene any E-bay policy and that with an image CLEARLY showing the print etc. I also don't see how this could be considered dishonest? It does clearly show the dates. does it not?
Thanks for the info. though.
Lee"



My Reply to him:
The reason I think it is somewhat dishonest is that a low value book that is currently available brand new (see tolkien.co.uk) is being passed off as a high-value book, collectible book. You have been selling Tolkien books long enough to know the difference, IMHO. Anyway, you must do what you must do, I guess.

For what it is worth, I don't think you are breaching any eBay policy, but it isn't something I would do, personally.


And further reply back:

"Hi, I wasn't even aware of the website tolkien.co.uk or the availability of those books. Useful info for which I am grateful. I rarely (in fact it's safe to say never) venture beyond e-bay! Of course I'm aware first impressions fetch more, I have amended my listings! Though still not reduced the prices by as much as you might approve of, they are at least lower and any hint of them being anything other than what they are toned down now that I am aware of their true availability. Thanks again, Lee"


So hopefully a reasonable result on the eBay Policing, and benefit of doubt can be given to seller.

Note (for posterity) that the seller did not add any text to the listing identifying the book as being a POD, and reduced the price to GBP 119, still two and a half times the price the book is currently available new. Some words were removed, however.

Posted on: 5/4 1:17:23

Edited by Stu on 2015/5/4 1:39:52
Edited by Stu on 2015/5/4 4:40:14
Edited by Stu on 2015/5/4 13:16:43
Edited by Stu on 2015/5/4 13:17:21
Edited by Stu on 2015/5/4 13:20:29


Re: The Wonders of...
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Urulöké wrote:
On a side note, is it just me or is it really a bit silly to have a number line "1" on a POD title - when does a "new printing" get issued? As opposed to a new edition, or every copy of the book being numbered which would actually be pretty cool.


I've often thought the same thing. Makes no sense at all to have a numberline on a POD. I like the one on the first set of Indexes that is just a mass of randomly over-typed characters. At least that really does denote the first print, even if accidentally!

Posted on: 5/3 17:57:19


Re: The Wonders of...
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A willingness to let the customer deceive themselves, IMHO. Stops short of deception, as such, but still extremely bad form.

Posted on: 5/3 15:46:26

Edited by Stu on 2015/5/3 17:31:08


Re: New Book Releases
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Trotter wrote:

Stu wrote:
Daniel Grotta almost certainly had fair use doctrine on his side when it came to reprinting his (non-contentious but unauthorised) biography, but he chose not to out of fear of the Estate and its alleged nastiness when he first wrote it.


I am just looking at my copy of his non-contentious biography

"For a time, Mabel Suffield had tried to teach Christianity to the Sultan of Zanzibar's harem."

Did Daniel Grotta think or believe this statement was correct when he wrote it, he gives no clues as to any evidence that he may have had access to, or did he just make it up?

This quote was used by William Ready in the The Tolkien Relation and some people today still think it is correct

I am not a fan of any books that make up items about J.R.R. Tolkien and his family, that readers may believe are true


Grotta wrote his biography before Humphrey Carpenter's, against - apparently - a backdrop of obfuscation from the estate. I'm sure that there may be errors in it, but I have not read anywhere that it is full of fabrications. To judge it against a work written subsequently, directly for the estate (with the estate's full cooperation, rather than obfuscation) seems unreasonable.

The Carpenter biography is the official view of Tolkien, as sanctioned by the estate. It seems foolhardy to think that it could be the only version of the "facts" that might have merit or that it must be complete in all regards. I'm sure all the biographies have their failings, some more so than others. All of them, even Carpenter's probably contain things that are fabrications or distortions.

I'm not being "pro" this new book, as I suspect it will be a work of fiction, but to blindly assume everything that Carpenter wrote was the "whole truth and nothing but the truth" is incredibly naive.

Posted on: 5/2 14:56:02

Edited by Stu on 2015/5/2 15:08:03
Edited by Stu on 2015/5/2 15:09:34


Re: New Book Releases
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garm wrote:
On the contrary, I believe they are saying that they can make up anything they like - let's look at the title. Tolkien as a spy-master? Spy-masters run (or ran) spy-rings, did they not?

It sounds all made-up to me, and that is very much part of the style of this pair.


I agree that their conclusions are likely to be absolute nonsense, but as I understand it they are probably correct in their assertions that they can - more or less- write what they want about a dead figure. Quite honestly, I don't want to live in a world where people can't write what they believe to be correct about figures of historic interest (even if what they write turns out to be incorrect supposition), for fear of litigation from that figure's wealthy estate.

If you change the subject to "Adolf Hitler : Pederast and Satanist", you wouldn't find anyone who would be that bothered what you wrote about him, be it gospel truth or completely exaggerated falsehoods (and plenty of falsehoods have been written about that nasty character for the purposes of selling books).

We can't apply one set of standards to historical figures that we like, such as Tolkien, and another set of standards to ones we don't like.

If the book is a load of tosh (and I suspect it probably is), then those who have the knowledge and information to do so can easily refute the book with supported facts and information, not lawyers. Or more likely, the book can simply be ignored -- I can't imagine it is going to sell very many copies.

And realistically, from the title, it doesn't sound like they are going to be fielding any of the more unsavoury (and, so far as I am aware, entirely vexatious) allegations that have been thrown at members of the family, both living and dead. I think it is more likely that they are going to be painting him as a far more important, positive and heroic figure than he actually really was.

I'm not willing to spend 25 pounds plus postage to find out, though, as I'm not a fan of the pair's prior work.

Posted on: 5/2 3:14:21

Edited by Stu on 2015/5/2 3:30:05



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