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Tolkien Collector's Guide
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Mar 13
2021/3/13 15:15:22 (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Casablanca, Monrovia
There's nothing new here. They've stating the "limited" number of their first impressions for 20 years. I know it bugs people, but they have never stated they won't reprint. I don't know what lesson HC are meant to be learning here. Their statements regarding the first impressions only are factually correct; and, at this stage (if they ever were), not misleading.
Mar 13
2021/3/13 16:37:20 (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Casablanca, Monrovia
All of those deluxe editions from 2004 onwards certainly say, ‘this edition available for a limited time’ but it doesn’t mention that is only being the 1st impression. And of course they can keep on printing and printing. My question was more rhetorical than anything really. My point being that they can reprint 2nd impressions if the 1st sell out, but as others have said, they are selling slowly it appears.
It’s there way of keeping the door open for further printings isn’t it.
Mar 13
2021/3/13 16:44:28 (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Casablanca, Monrovia
I just miss some of the fancier elements that used to make a deluxe edition feel.....well, deluxe. Such as:

- (if limited edition) signed and individually numbered
- gilt-edged pages
- leather (or leatherette) slipcase and binding

Similar to the limited editions of The Children of Hurin and The Legend of Sigurd & Gudrun.
Mar 13
2021/3/13 17:01:42 (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Casablanca, Monrovia
I don’t have any of those older deluxe editions so don’t feel I’m qualified to talk about the differences as I can’t compare the books.
Mar 13
2021/3/13 17:50:48 (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Casablanca, Monrovia
Well, look at various photos (Tolkien Library, I believe) of these two editions:

http://tolkienbooks.net/php/details2.php?id=475

http://tolkienbooks.net/php/details2.php?id=484
Mar 13
2021/3/13 17:54:02 (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Casablanca, Monrovia

insurrbution wrote:

I just miss some of the fancier elements that used to make a deluxe edition feel.....well, deluxe. Such as:

- (if limited edition) signed and individually numbered
- gilt-edged pages
- leather (or leatherette) slipcase and binding

Similar to the limited editions of The Children of Hurin and The Legend of Sigurd & Gudrun.

If you would like to see an edition similar to those, you should be aware to pay much more for it. But only few people would spend the required amount for a real deluxe. And it will be more effort and less profit for the publishing company, because the print run must be much smaller. Harper Collins needed several years to sell 500 copies of each, so they won't increase print runs for a superior edition. They will earn more when running an edition on higher level for less money.
If they really care for collectors, a print size of 50 copies would be nice
And the profit they earn would be rather reputation
Mar 13
2021/3/13 18:02:42 (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Casablanca, Monrovia
That makes sense - is that why the recent (well, "recent" - going as far back as 2004!) are made differently, and cheaper than the older style? I suppose that makes sense. I know they drop in price close to, when, or after they're published, though I find that the retail price to be about 10-15 pound too high.

Does anyone know if the later (read: recent) printings of the The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings have the 'cut out' logos on the slipcases, or are they now the new normal? That may be getting off topic a little bit, though since this post deals with the deluxes, I'd figured I'd ask.
Mar 13 (edited)
2021/3/13 20:48:32 (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Casablanca, Monrovia

insurrbution wrote:

Well, look at various photos (Tolkien Library, I believe) of these two editions:

http://tolkienbooks.net/php/details2.php?id=475

http://tolkienbooks.net/php/details2.php?id=484

Two things to remember about the 1997-2002 LoTR (and the other titles in the same style) is that back then the retailer got a 30% discount from RRP. The discount is now much sharper because of Amazon. If you add on official inflation from 2004 onwards, the money the publisher grosses from the edition is a lot less than they used to.

If you use real-world inflation, they are *much* cheaper. The reason real-world inflation is much higher than the official numbers is due to the difference between functional-equivalence (official) and quality-equivalence (real-world). Basically year on year the quality of items in the "basket of goods" has lowered, which gives an artificially distorted view of inflation.

The new editions are lower in quality because they will be massively discounted. Take the new Silmarillion Deluxe. You can get it for £60. In 2002, the deluxe cost me £70 on Amazon (I think RRP was £100). Using the official rate, the £70 I paid in 2002 is now £120, but you are paying £60 for the current equivalent.

Because salaries have not tracked real-world inflation (and remember CPI inflation figures do not include housing, which has jumped far ahead of inflation), people can't actually afford the deluxe editions we used to get. That's the simple reason we don't get them any more.
Mar 13 (edited)
2021/3/13 22:39:24 (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Casablanca, Monrovia

insurrbution wrote:

I just miss some of the fancier elements that used to make a deluxe edition feel.....well, deluxe. Such as:

- (if limited edition) signed and individually numbered
- gilt-edged pages
- leather (or leatherette) slipcase and binding

Similar to the limited editions of The Children of Hurin and The Legend of Sigurd & Gudrun.

Remember that both of these had a £350 RRP (back in 2007 and 2009 respectively). We can't really compare them to mainstream, "run-of-the-mill" multi-thousand copy deluxe editions being sold through the trade.

None of the 1997-2002 black deluxe editions were signed or numbered. They were cloth/leather quarter-bound with gilt edges and some used India paper. The cloth bound slipcases were nice. I don't have much time for the Silmarillion or last two prints of LoTR with the vinyl slipcases. I hate vinyl (and tbh, I don't hold bonded leather in much higher opinion -- I'd take cloth any day of the week).
Mar 14
2021/3/14 0:05:02 (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Casablanca, Monrovia
Thanks for the clarification - those older ones were out of print when I was getting into Tolkien, so I've never seen them first-hand.
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