Tolkien Collector's Guide
Aug 9
2020/8/9 15:31:48 (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Casablanca, Monrovia
Unfortunately I haven’t found how to edit here the messages.
I wanted to know how to find or tag you) now you’ve responded) My question was about text font quality in your HoME. I wrote about it a lot in this thread.
Aug 9
2020/8/9 15:44:34 (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Casablanca, Monrovia

Steve68 wrote:

The pictures you show of the Reader’s Companion are of the 2nd edition, not the 1st with the dark cover.

Actually, that's the 3rd edition, following the 1st in 2005 and the 2nd (with additions and corrections, in trade paperback only) in 2008.

It's interesting that the 8th printing (which we've not seen) is that much thicker. HarperCollins was concerned, for the first printings, to use thinner (but still opaque) paper so that the width of the Reader's Companion would be roughly equivalent to the three volumes of The Lord of the Rings, so that they would harmonize together in a boxed set.

To chime in on the question of broken letters or variable printing, in (pre-digital) days gone by, text was created from metal type, from which a repro-proof was pulled, or from photo-typesetting, with proofs cut and pasted up as a printed page was to appear. The printer then photographed this text and created a negative, which was exposed onto a metal plate, and the plate then put on a press to print using the offset method. As a designer, I would go to the printer and closely examine each negative, using an Xacto knife to remove any artifacts of the photographic process which crossed letters (which, if printed, would be "breaks") or a fine-tipped marker to fill in any spots (which if printed would appear as "specks"). I think the printer was amused, and the work took time, but it made for a cleaner book. This, mind you, was with a local job printer who was not so good at book printing -- I don't think the press people even looked for these issues-- but whom I had to use for budget reasons. When I worked with firms who printed high-quality books for museums, I could rest easy.

However HarperCollins' printers approach their jobs, at some stage the process is photographic, and there are always opportunities for flaws to enter. There are also inevitable variations in inking, paper, and presswork, and wear to plates during the run or as they're re-used for later printings. Good quality control should catch most problems, at least of a larger scale as opposed to the stray copy. It may still be true that one needs to print a certain number of sheets when starting a press run to get ink density stable, which means that some sheets might be under-inked and could enter the binding process if not discarded as waste.

Wayne
Aug 9
2020/8/9 18:47:29 (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Casablanca, Monrovia
Very true, things can happen when a book is printed, especially considering how large a print run may be (therefore, the equipment gets 'used' more).

I have a copy of The Annotated Hobbit revised and expanded edition, and the inking is pretty good through MOST of it - there is one or two 'side of the page annotations' where the ink looks to be running out near the end of the sentence or paragraph. Luckily, I can still read it - there's one or two words that are hard to identify, though in reading the rest of the annotation, one "knows" what the possibly ineligible word may be.

Given with how the book is formatted (plate section, writing throughout like a normal book, plus the notes on the side) I'm not really surprised that SOMETHING has happened.
Aug 9
2020/8/9 19:35:44 (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Casablanca, Monrovia
I understand that everything can happen, but it is a big difference when several (even several dozens) issues happen with separate book copies or book runs and when all 5000 pages of 3 volumes are with hundreds of torn letters, black-color shifts page-after-page, and, by the reports of owners of 4th run, even the regular 3-volume edition owners (not deluxe edition) observe the same problems.

We are talking now about multiple editions (regular; deluxe), multiple prints (1st; 4th), at least two print locations (Italy and Gray Britain), multiple years of HoME print. I mean if it was just a paperback edition or some other cheap one, but, please, keep in mind that it happens to somehow titled “deluxe edition” with the original price tag of 225 GBP! I should also mention that print text quality issues (with the font color shifts or font tears at least) have never been encountered (by myself) with any of my deluxe edition of books from HarperCollins. I own dozens of them, not taking into account the regular ones, that were also perfectly fine in that part. It’s just not ok.
I cannot remind at least one more example of books with this kind of issues (once again about the font boldness consistency and torn letters), even the cheap ones. I own dictionaries of French language from Robert Editions with the same ultra thin paper and 2000-3000 pages each volume of smallest font: « Dictionnaire historique de la langue française » (2 vol*2000 pages each); Dictionnaire Culturelle de la langue Française (4 vol*2800 pages each). They are also print in Italy. 0 similar issues. 0 issues at all. They cost 120-220 euro also.
It cannot happen to the deluxe editions at all and not in the scale I am aware of It is about how you care about your product. Looks like nobody care much about HoME and just reprint it. Revising HoME would take a lot of time and money, even if it is about the print layout quality.
So, I disagree that this case was about « thing happen ». It is about 0 interest towards HoME audience.
Aug 9
2020/8/9 22:18:25 (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Casablanca, Monrovia

Amedautrui wrote:

It is about 0 interest towards HoME audience.

I am wondering... has anyone told HarperCollins about these defects (ever)? I would assume they don't read reddit forums, for example... if they don't know about mistakes, they cannot possibly fix them.

It is possible there might be a new typesetting in the works, after all these years. I am curious if anyone is aware of any errata - not talking about type damage or print discoloration or pages missing, but actual erroneous text/typos. Please share them here. 😁
Aug 9
2020/8/9 22:41:21 (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Casablanca, Monrovia

Urulókë wrote:

Amedautrui wrote:

It is about 0 interest towards HoME audience.

I am wondering... has anyone told HarperCollins about these defects (ever)? I would assume they don't read reddit forums, for example... if they don't know about mistakes, they cannot possibly fix them.

I have highlighted various issues in the past with no response in general. When I received the 2002 3 volume edition of HoME it had half a page missing where the text just hadn't printed and their answer was to send me a PDF of that page.

When people complained to them about a first printing (faux) deluxe book being printed in China their response was to leave off where the Father Christmas letters were printed.
Aug 9
2020/8/9 22:46:13 (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Casablanca, Monrovia
I do wonder how much people assume a giant like HarperCollins just doesn't care vs. how much they've actually demonstrated not to care. Sure, it's quite understandable that many feel there's a breach of trust with the bait-and-switch tactics. Producing a solid 1st run to establish demand and credibility, only to immediately switch to the cheapest Chinese production to capitalize upon that interest is shady. But then again, it's usually best not to attribute malice where complacency will suffice.

To answer your question more directly, I did actually reach out to HC regarding the inconsistencies with the PoD HoME volumes. Haven't heard back, but it hasn't been long enough to fault them for it yet, especially given Covid-19.

I'm new to these forums, but it seems there are several high-profile collectors; I'd be shocked if some you don't have meaningful industry contacts. Why not create something like a respectful petition to address specific errors or even general practices? It could be signed by willing members of the community and supplemented by direct comments and supporting evidence, then handed off to said contact within HarperCollins.

Has it ever been attempted so far as this forum is concerned?
Aug 10
2020/8/10 0:06:38 (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Casablanca, Monrovia
HarperCollins as a giant publishing conglomerate definitely doesn't care. 😉 I know that the individuals working there, however, really do care, and try their best to make the perfect product that will appease the general book-reading public, the hyper-attentive collector, and the corporate overlords all at once. As we all know, pleasing all three at once is an impossibility. They try their best to please at least two of the three, but I think the collector is the hardest to please and the least important in most financial situations if we are honest with ourselves.

And they don't ignore us, definitely. Sometimes it is impossible to give individual feedback to every email received, and from personal experience I know there is sometimes nothing that can be done other than a band-aid (like a PDF of the missing page, that in particular sounds somewhat insulting, I agree).

There are people here who have built up solid relationships with the publishers and estate. Bringing up issues that you have with a book here is a good way to get the message seen by people that might be able to help more than a customer service rep, though no promises can be made.

The map smudge in some copies of the 2020 Return of the King, and the forthcoming Father Christmas Letters are two excellent recent examples.
Aug 10
2020/8/10 1:19:40 (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Casablanca, Monrovia
Urulókë your points are the crux of this subject I feel. Those of us who are passionate about Tolkien and his works are the thin end of the wedge and the wider buying public simply do not share our attention to detail or our knowledge of Tolkien. The deluxe editions are generally well received by them and that us I guess the best a publisher can hope for.

I don't mean to sound like I feel the individual members at HC don't care because I'm certain they do as demonstrated here by those of you who share a relationship with them. I do feel that HC lack the attention to detail that would otherwise please those of us who care enough to notice but you are correct, we are such a small proportion of buyers that we don't register at the corporate level and the team that work on Tolkien titles are running a gauntlet of bosses/general public/collector that it's a thankless task.

In some respects I feel that they have reached the end of their interest in really delivering a solid experience where Tolkien is concerned. The website is a prime example where no effort is made and although I am sure the relationship between them and the estate is a good one I think HC could do more to press the estate on the readers behalf to secure more texts for publication. It feels like both parties are content to churn out reprint after reprint (Nature of ME aside) yet when one looks at other writers from a similar period Tolkien feels rather lacklustre in comparison. Look at the work faber & faber have done with T.S. Eliot in securing so many obscure texts, created a really accessible website, worked tirelessly to release more content and Tolkien, a far bigger prospect in this time is left behind.

So while I don't want to berate the fine people who are working to deliver to the fans a worthy product, I do have serious reservations as to how capable HC are of delivering what would benefit readers.
Aug 10
2020/8/10 1:50:19 (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Casablanca, Monrovia

onthetrail wrote:

Urulókë wrote:

Amedautrui wrote:

It is about 0 interest towards HoME audience.

I am wondering... has anyone told HarperCollins about these defects (ever)? I would assume they don't read reddit forums, for example... if they don't know about mistakes, they cannot possibly fix them.

I have highlighted various issues in the past with no response in general. When I received the 2002 3 volume edition of HoME it had half a page missing where the text just hadn't printed and their answer was to send me a PDF of that page.

When people complained to them about a first printing (faux) deluxe book being printed in China their response was to leave off where the Father Christmas letters were printed.

Oh wow, I totally missed this post. This is pretty inexcusable... I still hesitate to call it malice, but perhaps incompetence will do?
Jump to Last