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J.R.R. Tolkien 4-Book Boxed Set: The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings
$18.54
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Nov 3, 2021
2021/11/3 21:56:05 (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Casablanca, Monrovia
I don't think it's too much to ask for books at this price point to be checked individually by a person before going into the wrapper.

If some poor soul in 1937 could fix the typo on the Hobbit wrapper back flap, then some poor soul in 2021 could have done a spot check on these volumes.
Nov 3, 2021
2021/11/3 23:04:46 (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Casablanca, Monrovia
Finally went through my Deluxe and as far as i can see its flawless. Very happy with both it and the trade edition. Most of all though in this time of Tolkien art which is more and more removed from the stories Tolkien wrote its wonderful seeing his drawings with the story.
Nov 4, 2021 (edited)
2021/11/4 2:54:34 (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Casablanca, Monrovia
My copy turned up today. A couple of loose threads (easy sorted), one small folded corner (easy sorted), quite a bit of paper colour variation. So no serious defects, but defects nevertheless.

Now I notice that it isn't different sheets that vary in colour, it is different sides of the same sheet. That makes me think the paper suffers browning/oxidation under certain circumstances and somewhere through the paper's lifecycle some of the large sheets the book started off as get affected on on some sides. Basically down to it being printed on toilet paper. I compared it side-by-side with a 2nd impression 1997 India paper and the india paper was similar opacity, nice and white and less than half the thickness. I think the cloth slipcase is better than the older cloth slipcase, but the older book is much better, I think.

Edit: Turns out it came with an extra Middle-earth map, so three maps in total. Not a problem, but again indicative of the sloppy production process.
Nov 4, 2021
2021/11/4 9:14:03 (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Casablanca, Monrovia
Watching all these problems with this edition, wouldn't it be a good idea to switch to LEGO for a reset? This wouldn't be the first time HC would do such a step. The boxed HOME set was launched a second time as well..
Nov 4, 2021
2021/11/4 19:07:29 (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Casablanca, Monrovia

Ithildin wrote:

Watching all these problems with this edition, wouldn't it be a good idea to switch to LEGO for a reset? This wouldn't be the first time HC would do such a step. The boxed HOME set was launched a second time as well..


Yeah. The HoME set printed by Clays was only expected to sell a small number of copies and was always intended to be the last thing printed at Clays as their contract had ended. So it was a bit of a given that when there was much more demand than expected, it would go to someone else. The printer didn't change because Clays did a horrible job in that case. I don't think it was really re-launched -- they simply printed more copies to meet demand, so it came back into stock. And someone forgot to change the "1" to a "2".

The 1997 Deluxe LoTR went through a couple of printers over its 4 impressions (Bath Press then Splichal). I recall reading that HC had some difficulties with the India paper, but I'm not sure whether this or simple economics played the part in that change.

I'd love to see LEGO print these, mind. They seem to be consistently high quality over a lot of years. Rotolito has been consistently mediocre, particularly with paper quality and choice. Of course, it may simply be that when Rotolito have been used, cheaper paper has been specified by the publisher. No excuse for the total lack of quality control though.
Nov 4, 2021
2021/11/4 19:54:53 (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Casablanca, Monrovia
I would be astounded if any of the printers variously mentioned had any influence or say at all in the materials used for the production of HC's books. This is something firmly in the say & control of the publisher.
Nov 4, 2021
2021/11/4 20:02:41 (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Casablanca, Monrovia

Khamûl wrote:

I would be astounded if any of the printers variously mentioned had any influence or say at all in the materials used for the production of HC's books. This is something firmly in the say & control of the publisher.

That's also my assumption. But I also suspect there may be a bit of nuance as to how this all works in real life.
Nov 4, 2021
2021/11/4 20:08:16 (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Casablanca, Monrovia
The printers are given very detailed instructions on how to make the book, which covers everything from materials to positioning of text from the publishers. This allows them to easily change printer if necessary.
Nov 4, 2021
2021/11/4 20:13:15 (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Casablanca, Monrovia

Trotter wrote:

The printers are given very detailed instructions on how to make the book, which covers everything from materials to positioning of text from the publishers. This allows them to easily change printer if necessary.

I don't think this always happens in practice to the level we might expect. Look at reprints of Pocket Hobbits. For every reprint do HarperCollins tell them to use a different weight and/or thickness of paper? Seems odd if they did, yet each print is different than the previous one for no obvious reason, even where the printer hasn't changed. I suspect materials availability in the location of the printer at the time of printing also plays a part. Purely guessing of course, but the lack of consistency has been odd.

I don't doubt for this edition that the paper is exactly as specified; It is just rubbish paper.
Nov 4, 2021
2021/11/4 20:27:56 (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Casablanca, Monrovia

Stu wrote:

Trotter wrote:

The printers are given very detailed instructions on how to make the book, which covers everything from materials to positioning of text from the publishers. This allows them to easily change printer if necessary.

I don't think this always happens in practice to the level we might expect. Look at reprints of Pocket Hobbits. For every reprint do HarperCollins tell them to use a different weight and/or thickness of paper? Seems odd if they did, yet each print is different than the previous one for no obvious reason, even where the printer hasn't changed. I suspect materials availability in the location of the printer at the time of printing also plays a part. Purely guessing of course, but the lack of consistency has been odd.

I don't doubt for this edition that the paper is exactly as specified; It is just rubbish paper.

HarperCollins would have to give very detailed and nuanced instructions to the printer so as to match the specifications, but yes I do think that the actual product produced at the printer has to do with the supplies they have on hand...in this case the kind of paper used was what was available to this printer and I can see that being out of HC control. However HC is free to switch to a different printer pending any contractual obligations they may have for the 2nd printing. I'm sure books sometimes don't emerge from the printer as expected, this is where QC would and should come in.

You could blame the pandemic, but that would be a bit of a cop-out as we have seen these kinds of issues before. Take the re-prints of the deluxe Fall of Arthur, with the misplaced text on the spines. Those went past QC and went out in larger numbers to dealers too.
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