Tolkien Collector's Guide
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Dec 2, 2022
2022/12/2 17:46:02 (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Casablanca, Monrovia

onthetrail wrote:

Mr. Underhill wrote:

onthetrail wrote:

Demis wrote:

onthetrail wrote:

The inclusion of the CD is cynical to the extreme. They know a standard hardcover will suffice for this title but can't help themselves.

I may be missing something but they are giving this without extra cost as part of the book right? I would consider that a plus normally..

Of course, others opinions may differ, and will, but I see this as a hook and nothing more. The sales of these 'deluxe' publications will be dropping by now to a small amount and throwing in a CD will capture some more sales. If the CD is worthy of release then it should be released properly so all Tolkien fans can listen to it rather than those who buy a deluxe book.

This is a collectors site so as I said, opinions will differ from mine, but I believe in accessibility and with all the audio releases over the years, this was not deemed worthy of inclusion. I don't like exclusive items designed to hook in completists. It's just how I feel about this stuff.

You’re right other opinions will differ 😁

I don’t agree that it’s cynical at all or even exclusionary. The fact that it’s being released even if only for the deluxe edition means that thousands of copies will be out there for people to burn and or distribute through other means (sampling, fair use) it will be available to pretty much anyone who wants it after release in some way.

In regards to it being a hook or cash grab to hook completists and make a quick buck, well if you think about it aren’t all the new releases from HC a hook to grab people’s money? Tolkien is dead, his children are dead. The artists are not seeing any proceeds. HarperCollins is in the business to make money off of Tolkien and they are the sole publisher of his material.

Seems kind of an odd position to take on this, just because it includes a CD. In today’s online world, if you are in the market for a physical book, let alone a deluxe book I think most will see the CD as a bonus.


Part of my dislike here is that they have not done this for other releases in this range, they know it will have limited appeal and the CD is a rather lazy thing to throw in.

Also, more broadly, I would rather HarperCollins focus on the product than thinking only about their bottom line with a hook. Forget the CD and produce a really decent book. HarperCollins will not do that. HarperCollins have become a menace to quality product. The OED should add an entry for 'faux deluxe'. "Faux deluxe: The process of making a fake deluxe product that is no more quality than toilet paper. For instance, a book release from HarperCollins." I see the CD as another element that will reduce the overall quality because that cost will be paid for from somewhere else. HarperCollins won't pay for this, the buyer will with another poor quality product (most likely).

And theres the heart of the matter for me. HarperCollins means poor quality, bad paper, terrible images, awful spines. They do not care about books, or readers, or a dead author.

Yes, the issues we have all seen with the recent deluxe editions are quite alarming and I agree that they do a disservice to Tolkien and his legacy. Why HC chose to use the same printer after the LOTR disaster from last year is beyond me. And I can totally get behind the statement that HC quality is poor. Esp for a books they call deluxe.

However I do think that at least some on the editorial team at HC do care about Tolkien and his legacy, and the reason that I say that is because of releases of titles just like this one. The profit margins on these books are razor thin, I think that many of the trade FoN for example will end up getting remaindered because of not enough sales. This title (Maldon) will not be a super popular release I don't think, (possibly why they are releasing HoH at the same time) even with the selling power of Tolkien right now.

If HC really wanted to cash in they would just bring out new volumes of The Hobbit and LOTR every few months with new covers and not waste time with books that they could take losses on, or new obscure material, Deluxe, Calendars, etc... a release like this tells me that they do want to make this material more widely available, while still hoping to cash in (they are still a giant media corporation after all).
Dec 2, 2022
2022/12/2 17:53:00 (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Casablanca, Monrovia

Mr. Underhill wrote:


Yes, the issues we have all seen with the recent deluxe editions are quite alarming and I agree that they do a disservice to Tolkien and his legacy. Why HC chose to use the same printer after the LOTR disaster from last year is beyond me. And I can totally get behind the statement that HC quality is poor. Esp for a books they call deluxe.

I think the reason why was that the printers probably assured HarperCollins that there would not be a repeat of the issues that plagued The Lord of the Rings release, and that this issue would be much better printed and bound.

That has not been the case, and I also think that HarperCollins should use a different printer for future releases. They have had chances to do better but still failed.
Dec 2, 2022
2022/12/2 18:06:49 (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Casablanca, Monrovia

Mr. Underhill wrote:

I do think that at least some on the editorial team at HC do care about Tolkien and his legacy.

Just to be clear, I am talking about HarperCollins the business rather than the individuals who I am certain do care.
Dec 2, 2022
2022/12/2 18:35:05 (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Casablanca, Monrovia

wheresrob wrote:

Scratches head... CD player, CD player.. now where did I put you, oh yes, 1990 :)

😂😂

Quite honestly vinyl is more popular than CD nowadays….
Dec 2, 2022
2022/12/2 19:36:49 (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Casablanca, Monrovia

Trotter wrote:

Mr. Underhill wrote:


Yes, the issues we have all seen with the recent deluxe editions are quite alarming and I agree that they do a disservice to Tolkien and his legacy. Why HC chose to use the same printer after the LOTR disaster from last year is beyond me. And I can totally get behind the statement that HC quality is poor. Esp for a books they call deluxe.

I think the reason why was that the printers probably assured HarperCollins that there would not be a repeat of the issues that plagued The Lord of the Rings release, and that this issue would be much better printed and bound.

That has not been the case, and I also think that HarperCollins should use a different printer for future releases. They have had chances to do better but still failed.

I think HC has had enough bites at the Rotolito cherry to know it doesn't work. It seems to me to be a pure economic decision, and I think HarperCollins should be held as accountable as Rotolito. When you keep doing a thing and getting the same results...

On the subject of the CD, a CD is already an anachronism. In 10 years time no one will be able to play them - the only place I can play one right now is in my car or if I plugged in my XBox.

For me it turns the product into a "gift set" with the connotations that go along with that. I'd much rather HC put less extras in with their deluxe products and tried to make a good quality book. In a decade or 20 or 30 years, the book is what will still matter and the CD will simply be an absurdity that is shoved in a box somewhere to keep the set complete. Just provide a code for a digital download or make this part of an audiobook.

FoN is not a good quality deluxe edition by any measure. Adding a CD to that format seems unlikely to yield a good quality edition for tBoM. I think it was emilien who pointed out the trade editions have largely improved (other than the plates - which suck), but the deluxe editions have gotten much worse. Three times the price for a slipcase, no dustjacket and identical pages...
Dec 2, 2022
2022/12/2 19:39:42 (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Casablanca, Monrovia

onthetrail wrote:

Mr. Underhill wrote:

I do think that at least some on the editorial team at HC do care about Tolkien and his legacy.

Just to be clear, I am talking about HarperCollins the business rather than the individuals who I am certain do care.

When the individuals in a business truly care, generally the business will appear to care. Businesses are made from people (and assets) and tend to reflect the ideals of those who work for them (particularly those at the top who have greater influence).
Dec 2, 2022 (edited)
2022/12/2 22:42:31 (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Casablanca, Monrovia
Yes, I have nothing new to add from what has been said, but just want to give my 2cents.
I'm waiting for my 4th replacement copy of the recent Silmarillion deluxe from thebookdepository (I will not give up as I told them as a collector I couldn't be satisfied with a book on which I can't read the titles on the spine), and I'm still hoping to have a decent one without any silver rubbing... This is unbelievable to come to this point honnestly.
I know at the end it *will be rubbed* if I hold it into my hands, just if I want to read the book, which is an absolute shame.
The trade editions are indeed getting better, if we consider they don't use toilet paper anymore. But regarding FoN, I can't accept spending 3 times the price of the trade for a deluxe edition which has the exact same text block than the trade, poor quality illustrations, a *quarter colour paper binding* which is not even textured as before... as you pointed out Stu, when I'm looking at my Fall of Gondolin deluxe, this is absolutely not the same quality, and I miss the heavy-weight acid-free paper [and glossy paper for the illustrations], which were the main level-up of the old deluxe editions).

I feel mixed, as the Battle of Maldon is fantastic news, but fear it would be deserved by another poor quality book.
Dec 2, 2022 (edited)
2022/12/2 22:58:50 (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Casablanca, Monrovia

emilien wrote:

Yes, I have nothing new to add from what has been said, but just want to give my 2cents.
I'm waiting for my 4th replacement copy of the recent Silmarillion deluxe from thebookdepository (I will not give up as I told them as a collector I couldn't be satisfied with a book on which I can't read the titles on the spine), and I'm still hoping to have a decent one without any silver rubbing... This is unbelievable to come to this point honnestly.
I know at the end it *will be rubbed* if I hold it into my hands, just if I want to read the book, which is an absolute shame.
The trade editions are indeed getting better, if we consider they don't use toilet paper anymore. But regarding FoN, I can't accept spending 3 times the price of the trade for a deluxe edition which has the exact same text block than the trade, poor quality illustrations, a *quarter colour paper binding* which is not even textured as before... as you pointed out Stu, when I'm looking at my Fall of Gondolin deluxe, this is absolutely not the same quality, and I miss the heavy-weight acid-free paper [and glossy paper for the illustrations], which were the main level-up of the old deluxe editions).

Wow, 4th copy. Based on Googling, I just assumed I would be likely to get another dud and took the refund/did not re-order (I was allowed to keep the book as the cost of return was prohibitive. I hope/Assume it will be charged back to HC, though it was a large seller that can absorb the losses without blinking).
Dec 2, 2022
2022/12/2 23:00:20 (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Casablanca, Monrovia
They only proposed me a 20% refund, which is not acceptable as I'm not satisfied with my copy... So I chose another replacement...
Dec 3, 2022 (edited)
2022/12/3 0:00:40 (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Casablanca, Monrovia

emilien wrote:

I miss the heavy-weight acid-free paper [and glossy paper for the illustrations], which were the main level-up of the old deluxe editions).
On a plus/encouraging note the listings for the deluxe version of The Battle of Maldon on both Amazon and HC's website list the acid-free paper in the description (something that's currently missing from The History of the Hobbit listing).

Edit: Then again I just pulled down insert about FoN's de luxe edition because I wanted to compare it to others in the line and noticed this:
Definitive version of the text printed in two colours on heavyweight acid-free paper and including a ribbon marker

Guess it'll be a waiting game, other than the paper being the same as the trade and the slipcase being a pinch shorter than the others my FoN Deluxe has no issues so personally I'm willing to give this one a chance (though since HotH comes out sooner, if that one has quality issues it's easy enough to cancel a preorder these days)
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