Unfinished Tales
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Oct 18, 2021
2021/10/18 20:22:51 (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Casablanca, Monrovia
It's very likely that if HC continues printing these that this edition will never be worth very much on the second hand market. There will be thousands of them out there, but many will not keep the box and the other items can become lost or separated so it could add value in the long term.
Oct 18, 2021
2021/10/18 21:51:06 (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Casablanca, Monrovia

Stu wrote:

onthetrail wrote:

Stu wrote:

onthetrail wrote:

I finally received the trade. Not very impressed with the reproduction of the artwork. At £60 RRP I would expect the images to be reproduced in their best form and not have the text from the next page showing through. The cover is nice minus the sig as Stu only pointed out one time

To those who have the deluxe. Is the artwork reproduction better than in the trade?

None of the Rotolito-printed books in the last couple of years have had good image reproduction. I wonder if they are simply not set up for it. The illustrated UT and Sil are nice books in many regards, but the image quality is crap. For the Sil, I can't imagine ever picking it off the shelf vs just looking at the prior edition.

I was comparing the Silm/UT verses this new trade Rings and everything about those earlier releases are better imo. The paper used is nicer to the touch, feels more premium, the images look better too. Not great but better.

So the image quality on the LoTR is worse than on the 2020/21 UT/Sil? Yikes.

One (and often the) major reason to buy an illustrated edition is for the illustrations. So how is it that HC seems to have accepted this mess when they've offered better quality in the past? Don't they care anymore (as long as the money flows) or do other (maybe pandemic induced) factors play a role? It saddens me when I compare, for instance, the image quality in the new Sil vs. the previous edition or the illustrated Foster guide. The pictures are a lot sharper and the colours are much more vivid in the older books. In my opinion the image quality in the new Sil/UT editions doesn't really do justice to the artists. The illustrations don't have the same effect when they are poorly reproduced.

The illustrater of the books discussed here is, of course, Tolkien himself and most of the illustrations are not what one would usually expect in an illustrated edition anyway. Still, people are paying a lot of money and therefore expect something in return. I do like the idea behind the new editions and many of their features, but the execution seems sloppy again. I didn't pre-order because of all the quality issues HC is having lately, a couple of which have also caused me trouble. So I decided to wait for the first reviews and here we are again. When I now read that the image quality is once again unsatisfactory, I might skip these editions and rather leaf through The Art of the LotR again.
Oct 18, 2021
2021/10/18 22:05:12 (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Casablanca, Monrovia

Ligandil wrote:

Took a risk and ordered both from Awesome Books for $187, including shipping to the US. Now all that remains is to wait and see.

Happy to say that books arrived today, 11 days after the order, all the way from the UK to California. Untracked, though, but a problem as long as they arrive.

I'll certainly keep ordering from this bookstore!
Oct 18, 2021
2021/10/18 22:17:05 (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Casablanca, Monrovia
The issue here is both quality & value for money. The £150 RRP for the deluxe (with usual discounting) seems to be simply the market rate HC think this book should go for. (Sorry for harping on about the deluxe here, but the standard edition is relatively inexpensive.)

Look at one element: that "deluxe" leather binding. I can buy a decent piece of calf leather (location & tannery unknown) for bookbinding (of this size) for around £10. That's one piece. Taking into account bulk buying, HC's enormous buying power, the fact (caveat: I haven't handled the deluxe yet) that the leather will probably be total junk, and one has to assume some other aspect of production is driving price here. Because it isn't that leather binding...

The paper? Well, reviews in aren't that good, are they? The illustration reproduction? As already mentioned, we have good art reproduction in books like H&S's The Art of the Lord of the Rings. But that's a £20 book. So, again, where is the £100+ price tag coming from?
Oct 18, 2021
2021/10/18 22:40:56 (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Casablanca, Monrovia
Khamûl: "the fact (caveat: I haven't handled the deluxe yet) that the leather will probably be total junk"

I've seen speculation strongly discouraged in this forum repeatedly. Isn't this likewise speculation? I mean, it might prove to be true, but let's at least try to be consistent.
Oct 18, 2021
2021/10/18 22:41:37 (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Casablanca, Monrovia
The price tag is coming from manufacturing costs and shipping costs (both impacted by the pandemic and UK-specific issues), as well as any licensing costs from the Estate, and profit margin. HC is in this to make money, when it all comes down to it. This edition appears to have been designed and priced very well for current market conditions, as it has blown initial print-run sizing out of the water, and is selling out everywhere. I would not be surprised if they are regretting not pricing it higher.
Oct 18, 2021
2021/10/18 22:55:04 (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Casablanca, Monrovia

Aelfwine wrote:

Khamûl: "the fact (caveat: I haven't handled the deluxe yet) that the leather will probably be total junk"

I've seen speculation strongly discouraged in this forum repeatedly. Isn't this likewise speculation? I mean, it might prove to be true, but let's at least try to be consistent.

It's fair to raise this question up, and I should probably update the Terms of Use to clarify better things like this, but the policy we have been trying to encourage is:

  • no baseless speculating (e.g. "I am sure the next deluxe edition will be chartreuse with a taupe ribbon marker because they haven't used that combination yet")
  • Statements implying factuality should have evidence (e.g. "HarperCollins told me the deluxe print run will be well over the initial 6000 copies initially planned in an email today" vs. "The deluxe edition first print run was well over 10,000 copies" which I have seen now on Facebook and Reddit, but never backed up with any information from anyone who would know)
  • Opinions should be clearly marked and separated from factual statements (Khamûl's caveat and "probably" tip the scale to an opinion, but I do agree he shouldn't have said "the fact ... that" if we are being rigid).
Oct 18, 2021
2021/10/18 22:58:16 (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Casablanca, Monrovia

Aelfwine wrote:

Khamûl: "the fact (caveat: I haven't handled the deluxe yet) that the leather will probably be total junk"

I've seen speculation strongly discouraged in this forum repeatedly. Isn't this likewise speculation? I mean, it might prove to be true, but let's at least try to be consistent.

Worth saying that our focus in avoiding speculation was primarily aimed at a single specific user, who is now no longer a member. Your point is valid, but there is also some necessary context.
Oct 18, 2021
2021/10/18 23:05:18 (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Casablanca, Monrovia

Urulókë wrote:

The price tag is coming from manufacturing costs and shipping costs (both impacted by the pandemic and UK-specific issues), as well as any licensing costs from the Estate, and profit margin. HC is in this to make money, when it all comes down to it. This edition appears to have been designed and priced very well for current market conditions, as it has blown initial print-run sizing out of the water, and is selling out everywhere. I would not be surprised if they are regretting not pricing it higher.


The one thing I have heard David Brawn say previously is that slipcases often cost as much as the book itself to manufacture. The one thing that does seem to have been done well on this edition is the slipcase. The quality slipcase is the reason I haven't cancelled my order.
Oct 18, 2021
2021/10/18 23:23:53 (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Casablanca, Monrovia
I can understand the price side of it. There's costs plus Tolkien sells well and they're in it for the money. But I won't keep throwing money at them if quality deteriorates. The high number of production issues lately is annoying, and in terms of image quality, they've done better for cheaper in the past. I'm not saying everything is bad, but quality is definitely an issue at the moment and HC should address this.
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