Houghton Mifflin HO-9780618260300 The Hobbit
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2004 LotR Deluxe. Is this a 1st, 2nd, or 3rd printing?

Oct 12
2021/10/12 22:55:25 (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Casablanca, Monrovia

I've had this sitting around for far too long, and I'm looking to sell it, but I'm not sure which printing it is. I know some of you chaps will be able to tell in a jiffy based on the font shadow or some such thing, so do have a look and let me know what you think. Cheers.

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Oct 12
2021/10/12 23:00:19 (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Casablanca, Monrovia

Orcrist wrote:

I've had this sitting around for far too long, and I'm looking to sell it, but I'm not sure which printing it is. I know some of you chaps will be able to tell in a jiffy based on the font shadow or some such thing, so do have a look and let me know what you think. Cheers.

You would need to open the shrinkwrap to find out. I don't think there is any obvious difference on the outside between those printings.
Oct 12
2021/10/12 23:02:32 (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Casablanca, Monrovia
No, there are several markings on the outside that can be used. I just haven't seen enough examples to be able to tell myself.
Oct 12
2021/10/12 23:06:09 (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Casablanca, Monrovia

Orcrist wrote:

No, there are several markings on the outside that can be used. I just haven't seen enough examples to be able to tell myself.

If that's true (hint: it isn't) then do the work yourself. Or, just peel off the acidic (and back-sheet distorting) plastic covering that actually detracts from the value and see for yourself. If you bought this only to later capitalize on it, rather than to enjoy it for what it is, then that's on you.
Oct 12
2021/10/12 23:09:56 (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Casablanca, Monrovia
Lotta negativity going on around today.
Oct 12
2021/10/12 23:22:58 (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Casablanca, Monrovia
I am unaware, personally, of a way to tell the early printings apart from the marketing sheet and other external features, but I suppose there may be some.

If I was personally buying this, and was told "the appearance of xxx and yyy mean this is a first impression", I would still want to see a picture of the copyright page to confirm.

And I do agree that the shrinkwrap used for these editions is NOT archival quality, and will cause issues in time - also, keeping it sealed is an invitation for foxing and other moisture damage in the long term.
Oct 12
2021/10/12 23:55:03 (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Casablanca, Monrovia
You stand to gain more by breaking the shrink. My rationale is that the people who care about shrinkwrap (group #1) are in it for maximizing growth potential to later resell. However, those same people probably vastly prefer getting in early when they know they have 1st impressions on their hands.

Those hunting for 1sts specifically (group #2) will actually view that shrinkwrap as a deterrent, since it's a roll of the dice what they'll get.

Anyone else probably just wants a nice book in decent condition (group #3), and there's more or less a market floor on that. Even without the shrinkwrap, that's what you're offering.

By keeping it wrapped, you only really cater to the people looking for a nice condition book; investors and collectors both want some assurance that this is a 1st impression. By unwrapping it, you potentially cater to all three groups if it is indeed a 1st. And even if it's not, group #3 will likely pay enough to help you minimize your loss.

I'd say, if you want to flip books, buy those awful plastic-entombed Easton Press books. Isn't it the case EP doesn't even keep track of impressions? Seems like there's no lack of people willing to buy into that racket–and data even to show it can be worth the effort.
Oct 13 (edited)
2021/10/13 0:10:25 (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Casablanca, Monrovia

Orcrist wrote:

No, there are several markings on the outside that can be used. I just haven't seen enough examples to be able to tell myself.

Why would you bother? When you sell it, the buyer is going to want to see the copyright page anyway, rather than trust an internet random that there are markings on the paper insert that will indicate the print. I know the insert changed, but I thought that was post the 3rd. Just use a Stanley knife to carefully slit the shrink (if you really want to keep it) and slide the book out.

FWIW, your image is no different than the second impression insert that I happen to have to hand. 1st is in a box and I have no idea which one (so unable to confirm if there is any difference to the sheet)...

I don't have a 3rd. I really can't see them having changed these inserts, given (1) Same printer, (2) No change to price or publisher URI. They did later change the script, top and bottom, but no idea when that happened.
Oct 13 (edited)
2021/10/13 0:21:25 (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Casablanca, Monrovia

Orcrist wrote:

No, there are several markings on the outside that can be used. I just haven't seen enough examples to be able to tell myself.

Like what markings - out of interest? And if you haven't seen the examples, how do you know?

Edit: Added images of 2nd and 3rd sheets. 3rd top, 2nd below. I'd caution that even if there are differences (nothing obvious to me), you have no guarantee that all copies of the same impression have the same sheets. Historically, things get re-used from impression to impression all the time, where there are spares left over.

Now if this was the 1997 - 2002 LoTR, I can tell each of the 4 impressions in shrink-wrap, but those had different printers and the spines of the books and slipcases are all noticeably different from impression to impression.

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