The Fall of Arthur
$10.74
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Tolkien Collector's Guide
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Oct 20
2021/10/20 15:44:13 (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Casablanca, Monrovia
I wonder if these issues (varying paper color, poor illustrations) are also present in the cheaper (white dust jacket) edition (which I preordered) and if, for $45 (my cost), should I even care?

How pronounced is the difference in paper color? A difference noticeable to me (a relative non-collector with no paper analysis expertise) would bother me more than the illustrations and might be the only thing I noticed when pick the book up (I would likely cancel).

Issues with the illustrations may not bother me as much because I have no copies of them against which to compare these printings (I don't yet have The Art of The Lord of the Rings).

I already own 2 LOTRs and only preordered this one because I liked the idea of having a Tolkien-illustrated edition (especially one with pages from the Book of Mazarbul and red page edges), but if the overall quality is pitiful, I may cancel it, take solace in the fact that the illustrations are covered (I believe) in The Art of LOTR (not the same as having them accompany the text when reading, but such is life), and await something better in the future.
Oct 20
2021/10/20 20:50:51 (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Casablanca, Monrovia
Paper colour shifts from white to yellowish together with the blurry text on the yellowish ones is exactly what I noticed in my copy of the standard edition. I have also found at least one double page with twice printed text (one of the genealogy trees in the Appendices), which makes it even more blurry that if the blurry effect is due to the boldness of the text.

I have seen such issues when I got in 2014 my copy of the single-volume LOTR with the blue spine shipped in a clear case. Its 1st print was in China (compared to this one in Italy), but the print issues were exactly the same ones: blurry text + twice printed text on the same pages. In 2014 I needed at least 1 replacement to get a decent (not perfect, but tolerable) copy of the book.

I've never seen such type of printer issues in any other Tolkien books (I mean no title except LOTR single-volume editions). To be honest I don't get why HC allows printers to produce this much of defective book copies.

Each new edition makes me feel unsure about its printing quality and makes me waiting before I take decision about its purchasing.
Oct 20
2021/10/20 21:10:52 (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Casablanca, Monrovia

Amedautrui wrote:

Paper colour shifts from white to yellowish together with the blurry text on the yellowish ones is exactly what I noticed in my copy of the standard edition. I have also found at least one double page with twice printed text (one of the genealogy trees in the Appendices), which makes it even more blurry that if the blurry effect is due to the boldness of the text.

Thank you.

Question for all: I believe the blurry text issue does not affect all copies, but does the paper color issue affect them all?
Oct 20
2021/10/20 21:18:20 (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Casablanca, Monrovia
In both editions, the text is printed on a cream coloured paper and the illustrations are on white paper. I don't consider this to be an issue.
Oct 20
2021/10/20 21:49:35 (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Casablanca, Monrovia
I was talking not about white paper on pages with illustrations. I was talking about turning over pages with text and seeing how double pages with white color and regular text font switches to yellowish double pages with significantly bolder text, it switches between these two states hundreds of times across the whole book. That is the issue for sure. Sometimes I was able to catch font boldness shifts within one double page (without page color shifts in this case). I’ll attach one example below.

Most times I observed white paper with regular boldness of font and yellowish paper with bold text.

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Oct 20
2021/10/20 22:49:43 (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Casablanca, Monrovia
This is just a badly printed book. And given the illustrations are printed on different paper, they could have used paper that was fit for purpose, yet they chose not to. I wonder how much money was saved by cheaping out in this regard. The random switching between paper and boldness levels is very poor. I hope HC own the issue and ensure the reprints are of a higher quality (as they did with the Deluxe HoME after the Clays abomination)
Oct 21
2021/10/21 0:03:46 (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Casablanca, Monrovia
Strangers from distant lands, thank you for all the information you have shared, it has been very helpful to me, yet still I am in need of your assistance. I have pre-ordered the trade version, but your reviews have made me doubt. I own an Alan Lee illustrated edition translated to my language, but having read LOTR in English, it is far superior. I wanted to own this edition for the following reasons in order of importance:

-Closest to the mind of JRRT (illustrated by his hand, even though I would have enjoyed it more if the outside were closer to his intention)
-Best version of the text (as in less mistakes) to date
-"Cheap"
-Nice paper with beautiful red and black text to enjoy the reading
-Maps are a nice add-on


However, sets like the one with Reader's Companion are intriging to me (and it appears to be more comfortable to read being separated volumes with the original cover art by Tolkien). The cons for me with this edition are: dark illustrations, printing problems, fears about the quality (spine etc), maybe too unwieldy to be read comfortably, the looks of it (I'm fine with the red pages, but there is too much gold and the absence of two of the three elven rings irks me; the actual cover of the book with just an eye seems lacking as well).

With this criteria in mind, which edition would you buy?

Is this the best version available? If not, it is the best version available for the price tag? Would you recommend me to get it or to cancel it until the edition I really desire finally appears (sadly I won't buy several versions, owning two editions of the same book in different languages is already my treat for... many years, I'll only ever get one english version of LOTR)?

Any thought or advice is welcome. Thank you so much for reading.
Oct 21 (edited)
2021/10/21 0:23:32 (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Casablanca, Monrovia
Ok, my copy has arrived. Some positives and negatives. The NZ re-packaging from Book Depository was excellent, as it has been for the last couple of purchases.

In terms of the book itself, I appear to have been lucky and received a copy that based on a flick-through, appears to have none of the production faults that some people are seeing. The pages are uniform in colour (slightly yellow), except for the white illustration pages, and there is no text blurring at all that I can see. There is also no errant glue or mis-gluing of the spine. The book was a bit dusty on the edges of the page block and on the end papers inside of the shrink-wrap, but that brushed off. The outer box was in pristine condition.

The paper quality is undoubtedly poor. It just feels (and smells) like cheap paper. Illustration print quality is relatively poor, but not as poor as it appears to be on some of the copies I have seen photos of. The paper used for the illustrations just plain isn't good enough. And for an illustrated edition that is a fairly grievous sin.

I think there are clearly some totally unacceptable and some passable copies of this title floating around, and it seems to be pot luck what you get.

For a trade copy purchased below RRP, it is borderline, so I'd revise my opinion of this copy back to "not really good enough, but passable for a trade edition assuming you got a deep discount". There is no way I would ever choose this copy to read. Though to be fair, that probably goes for most of the one volume editions.

I'd finish off with the definitive statement that even with a non-defective copy this is not a page block that is acceptable for a £150 RRP deluxe edition (and my understanding is that the blocks are identical). It just isn't.

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Oct 21
2021/10/21 0:55:01 (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Casablanca, Monrovia

Ilmo wrote:




However, sets like the one with Reader's Companion are intriging to me (and it appears to be more comfortable to read being separated volumes with the original cover art by Tolkien). The cons for me with this edition are: dark illustrations, printing problems, fears about the quality (spine etc), maybe too unwieldy to be read comfortably, the looks of it (I'm fine with the red pages, but there is too much gold and the absence of two of the three elven rings irks me; the actual cover of the book with just an eye seems lacking as well).

With this criteria in mind, which edition would you buy?

Is this the best version available? If not, it is the best version available for the price tag? Would you recommend me to get it or to cancel it until the edition I really desire finally appears (sadly I won't buy several versions, owning two editions of the same book in different languages is already my treat for... many years, I'll only ever get one english version of LOTR)?

Any thought or advice is welcome. Thank you so much for reading.

I'd say if you're looking to get the most out of the text then the set with the reader's companion is the way to go.
Oct 21
2021/10/21 10:58:34 (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Casablanca, Monrovia
Printing error on page 852. Random or does anyone else see the same? I think this picture shows the cheap, nasty texture of the paper quite well.

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