Tales from the Perilous Realm
$16.99
TolkienGuide is an Amazon.com affiliate
Tolkien Collector's Guide
Mar 30
2021/3/30 1:58:36 (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Casablanca, Monrovia
So, um, I just have to ask: why is more versions of LotR (whatever that means) in print better than fewer versions? I mean, a cynic could easily say that a proliferation of versions is a naked money grab at the expense of completists. Alternatively, one could argue that having only a single version would unify reference and citation. What, objectively, is the "right" number? And who gets to decide?
Mar 30
2021/3/30 2:09:19 (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Casablanca, Monrovia

Aelfwine wrote:

So, um, I just have to ask: why is more versions of LotR (whatever that means) in print better than fewer versions? I mean, a cynic could easily say that a proliferation of versions is a naked money grab at the expense of completists. Alternatively, one could argue that having only a single version would unify reference and citation. What, objectively, is the "right" number? And who gets to decide?

Fair questions!

The fact that multiple versions stay in print seems to indicate that the market wants it. Yes that might include collectors buying multiple copies of course, but from my brief overview just now counting things up, there are : size (pocket vs trade vs hardcover vs oversized); illustrated (Alan Lee vs Tolkien forthcoming) vs not illustrated. Single volume vs three volumes. Dark, brooding covers vs pastoral vs abstract. And so on. Each of those editions sell to different subsets of the market.

I enjoy all the options out there, personally, but I'm not in charge. Even if I were, 18 versions does seem like it could use a review for consolidation. Is "reference and citation" more important than getting more people to read the book because one of the cover variations caught their eye? Not my call!
Mar 30
2021/3/30 2:52:39 (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Casablanca, Monrovia
These are great points Urulókë.

Different “series” or versions of the same books do of course cater to audiences with different aesthetic tastes, budgets, reading preferences, and so on. There’s something for (almost) everyone.

Then of course there are hardcore completists like some of us here for whom this may seem like overkill. But then that’s on us... not the publishers.
Mar 30
2021/3/30 3:22:28 (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Casablanca, Monrovia

Stu wrote:


Yep, I would fully expect quality to drop. Americans typically expect and pay far lower prices for books, and consequently the quality is usually far lower. The only way the quality of UK books will remain at its current level is if there is a separate line of US books. My guess is that it will be cheaper and easier to just give everyone the same slightly worse (than current HarperCollins) books and accept the loss of a few of the existing UK customers for whom that doesn't work.

HC could foreseeably drop the quality and price for their trade stuff, and then double down on releasing deluxe books while raising prices on the audience still captive to that sort of thing. Assuming the billion-dollar Amazon show is a hit, I reckon there will be a fair few takers on either end of that spectrum. This could even offer headroom to ensure the deluxe versions are, indeed, deluxe.
Jump to Last