Tolkien Collector's Guide

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Oct 18, 2019
2019/10/18 22:09:45 (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Casablanca, Monrovia

Trotter wrote:
Got my copy from Amazon today, I really like it.

The Fold Out section at the front shows all the facsimile stamps that Tolkien made for the letters.

Looks like HarperCollins have reacted to past criticism of the printers, by no longer stating who it is printed by or the country it was printed in.

I think we can safely take it as meaning it was printed in China.
Oct 18, 2019
2019/10/18 22:11:58 (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Casablanca, Monrovia

insurrbution wrote:
To me that doesn't matter - my 60th anniversary boxed set of The Lord of the Rings (with the Reader's Companion) was printed in China (maybe Hong Kong...) and there's no issues with any of the books in terms of printing quality. (the only two errors is there's no comma in Gandalf's letter to Frodo, and 'The Book of Mazarbul' within the fold-out section isn't spelt correctly)

To me it matters for a whole host of reasons, not limited to the quality of the end product. For the most part, I do not buy any Chinese products unless there is no alternative (increasingly it is becoming difficult).
Oct 18, 2019
2019/10/18 22:13:34 (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Casablanca, Monrovia

Khamûl wrote:
Received mine today. Haven't actually opened it yet, but the omission of the printing information is surprising. I'm struggling to think of any books in my collection that don't have a stated printer & country of printing. Future bibliographers are going to love this move from HarperCollins! Not.

I don't think the Catlin Hobbit states where it was printed (it was obviously China, due to the paper type).
Oct 20, 2019
2019/10/20 20:35:40 (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Casablanca, Monrovia
It’s rather ridiculous isn’t it - omitting this information because they’re aware they’re using a substandard source and keen-eyed fans are specifically watching out for it?

Unless we’re wrong and they have some other genuine reasons for the omission, and the book is not printed in China after all.
Oct 20, 2019
2019/10/20 23:47:19 (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Casablanca, Monrovia

Eorl wrote:
It’s rather ridiculous isn’t it - omitting this information because they’re aware they’re using a substandard source and keen-eyed fans are specifically watching out for it?

Unless we’re wrong and they have some other genuine reasons for the omission, and the book is not printed in China after all.

Unfortunately origin marking is voluntary (except for food) in the UK, but it is still a rather cynical approach to omit the information. I find it bizarre on a deluxe product. People pay for perceived quality. They would be better printing in the UK (or elsewhere in the EU and touting that as a selling point). That said, they have rather painted themselves into a corner with the garbage deluxe reprints, and they would have to stop producing those if they tried to make European quality a selling point. I imagine they are cheap-as-chips to produce, based on the shoddy quality (which is really no better than the average mass-market hardback, but in a slipcase).

With this particular edition, at least it probably plays to what appear to be one of the strengths of cheap Chinese printing -- glossy paper. This worked well enough on the Alan Lee LoTRs. Wouldn't pay anything close to the RRP for it, though, on principle.
Oct 21, 2019
2019/10/21 13:11:13 (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Casablanca, Monrovia
Glossy paper... I’ve been thinking. Perhaps the cost of printing this book given its unique content (glossy colour printing right through) compared to the previous books, would have been exorbitant in Italy or the UK?

But wasn’t the Tolkien: Maker of Middle-earth hardback printed one the UK and that is a huge tome too?

So I wonder why HC would have been motivated to print these deluxe editions in China. 😐
Oct 21, 2019
2019/10/21 15:28:30 (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Casablanca, Monrovia
I seriously do not see why this is even an issue - I have a few Tolkien titles printed there, and there is nothing wrong with them.

Weren't titles that have been printed somewhat recently that have had some defects printed in the UK and Italy?

(Printing errors with the 2016 facsimile Hobbit, assorted problems with the Hammond + Scull 2017 set, The History of Middle-earth deluxe edition...)
Oct 21, 2019
2019/10/21 16:08:21 (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Casablanca, Monrovia
The J. R. R. Tolkien Companion and Guide was printed in China, I have no issues with it though. In fact I think it was a decent printing, sturdy box, nice solid book for the rigors of frequent use.
Oct 21, 2019 (edited)
2019/10/21 19:23:16 (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Casablanca, Monrovia

insurrbution wrote:
I seriously do not see why this is even an issue - I have a few Tolkien titles printed there, and there is nothing wrong with them.

Weren't titles that have been printed somewhat recently that have had some defects printed in the UK and Italy?

(Printing errors with the 2016 facsimile Hobbit, assorted problems with the Hammond + Scull 2017 set, The History of Middle-earth deluxe edition...)

It is OK that you don't see it as an issue.

However, China harvests Falun-gong and other dissidents for organs (they have effectively engaged in genocide, but we don't care, because "not Jews"). They are the biggest coal-fired polluter on the planet (mostly because the West continues to buy their crap in ever-increasing volumes). They are aggressively expanding militarily in South-East Asia (building artifical islands to restrict freedom of navigation). They bully smaller countries on a regular basis (Australia, NZ). They steal intellectual property as a matter of routine. They have an international spying programme second only to the Mossad. They money-launder into foreign real-estate markets at a rate that is unprecedented (albeit the capital flight is now being restricted). I could literally go on all day. Donald Trump looks like a shining beacon of reasonableness next to the Chinese administration.

So for me, saving a few dollars to further strengthen China and weaken "the west" IS an issue. China thinks in terms of hundreds of years. We think in terms of saving a few bucks this quarter. Unless we think strategically (and this pretty much involves total elimination of foreign manufacture in China over the long term), we are pretty much doomed.

Oh, and their quality is WAY more often crap than EU printed books. But, like you say, there are also examples of poorly printed product from the EU.

By printing the country of manufacture on a product, that gives me the opportunity to make an informed purchase decision that is aligned with my political and moral beliefs. Plus it is a pretty good indicator as to whether it is likely to fall to bits or offgas a ton of formaldehyde. The offgassing from the adhesives used in Kullervo was staggering. It was probably formaldehyde (although it could have been any number of other compounds that come from cheap, nasty glue).
Oct 21, 2019
2019/10/21 20:11:23 (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Casablanca, Monrovia
I don't ordinarily mix my pleasures with politics but I have to agree with Stu on this. Everybody knows that China is committing genocide and the international community choose to do nothing about it. At the thin end of the wedge we should be able to choose where we buy our products from and at worse all diplomatic and business ties should be severed with China and the beginning of operations to stop these acts from happening should be in motion already.

Stu may not share the opinion of my bold text, just wanted to make that clear. I wouldn't want my opinion to be pushed onto anybody else on this subject.
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