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4 Mar, 2008
2008-3-4 7:28:18 PM UTC
I actually didn't intend to link it to the collector profile on TolkienLibrary. I was talking about the entire collection that Neil undoubtedly has; of which we are only seeing a small section of in those photographs.

I agree with your point regarding documenting books generally; quite difficult without the books in hand. And that, is a lot of books...

5 Mar, 2008
2008-3-5 10:52:15 PM UTC
Thanks foe your very kind words!
They are much appreciated.

It is surprising how much additional detail you can pick up once the books are in front of you. I am waiting on delivery of 2 or 3 more books before I update the 1974-1976 section.
6 Mar, 2008
2008-3-6 6:01:03 AM UTC
I think I can safely speak for everyone on this site when I say that every update on your website is much anticipated and appreciated.

Thanks for all your hard work


ps. I have a few scans to send you. I will be able to do this tomorrow.
18 Apr, 2008
2008-4-18 7:50:31 AM UTC
Trotter said:
"Deagol has done a fantastic job of documenting the UK books and to do the same for the US editions would involve two things.

1 - Actually having all the books in one collection.
2 - Spending many hundreds of hours documenting them on a web site.

So for these two reasons I think it is unlikely that a web site as comprehensive as Deagol's will exist for US books.

Greetings all,

First, thank you Trotter for putting up the link. Though it is off topic, I'd like to speak to this subject. To put a point on it, about five years and $3000 annually to throw at it is what it takes... but those are not the reasons, to my mind.

I have collected or seen the vast majority of the U.S. books; I go armed with notebooks to used bookstores for the most common things, and the ones that have to be purchased would take a huge amount of space to keep around, so most of those are documented and re-sold. There are very few gaps in the highly detailed archive for anything over 20 years old at this point (most of the editions less than 20 years old are actually still in print and cannot be finished) - but it is not all online.

The primary reason: the market is different on this side of the pond. There are a lot fewer U.S. editions, because a) Tolkien is England's native son, and b) almost all the U.S. material has been mass produced for a huge population, sometimes to dozens of printings of a single cover. Even taking into account the books only printed once, perhaps one twentieth of all U.S. imprints are of interest to the Tolkien collector who wants one example of everything. The nostalgia hunter will care even less about details - he simply wants the books he remembers "from back when". Lengthy pages in text format that include exact printing dates, cover prices, etc. exist - but does anyone care about printing number 26 of 40, and is it worth muddying the waters to post it? My thought is no... that's why TUSTG is not called a bibliography, but a location guide; I believe it is much more functional in its current form.

The secondary reason stems from the first - what would one do with an avalanche of not-terribly-collectible books that have to be purchased? Even I'm not crazy enough to want one of each U.S. printing of everything... and I'll tell you, it's been as much work to get rid of them as it was to find them in the first place. Some of it is for sale on the website, and Amazon has been very helpful in this arena - but it's still a financial drain, and time consuming, and though of course I keep some of the best stuff, there is not a world-class Tolkien collection at the end of this road....

There is more that could be said, but I'm going through a patch of burnout at the moment, so it isn't too hard to keep a cap on it. In case anyone wonders what happened to the reference and criticism catalog, it will be back in July.


18 Apr, 2008
2008-4-18 1:24:33 PM UTC
Burnout for the Tolkien Collector?! A very worthy topic for discussion in a new thread I feel...

23 Apr, 2008
2008-4-23 5:23:12 AM UTC
Hi Skwish and Khamul,

I'll address the US book collecting here (and start another thread on burnout, good idea!)

In 1982 Richard E. Blackwelder donated to the Marquette library his essentially complete collection of Ballantine paperbacks (every printing up to that point.) It took significant effort (time and money) for him to do this, and was a very significant accomplishment. It has been hailed in multiple venues as an essential tool of research for those interested in textual drift, etc.

However, in today's market, where transparency (being able to see what even obscure/rare items are bought and sold for) is the norm to the point of completely killing many marketplaces, I firmly believe that an astute shopper on eBay could put together a complete run such as the Blackwelder one in about 6 months just by emailing every paperback seller and asking them to tell you what printing is indicated on the copyright page. For a dollar a book or so, plus shipping, a full set could be put together. And it would have essentially no value in the collectibles marketplace - there's probably three people out there who want to have 20 linear feet of shelf space taken up by three books over and over again.

Then again, I have had no trouble finding nice copies of various early printings and finding happy homes for them - there are plenty of collectors out there who want a set from a particular year (when they were born, when they first read the books, when they were married, whatever) so there is still a modicum of a market for them.

I do agree with Skwish saying that the US book market is very different from the UK one - I'm still waiting for a super deluxe anything from Houghton Mifflin. That red single volume LOTR (that has been in print from 1974 until 2004) doesn't count....

But still, there's a place for the TCG to document US editions in some form, just like there is a place for them to be documented at . I am working on it now, and with the cooperation of Deagol will be providing linkages to his data on the UK editions as his site is the best destination for all that. The more sources for information, in various formats, the better for the collector.
4 May, 2008
2008-5-4 9:07:10 AM UTC
hi, i have a puzzling question (if it has been answered, sorry for not noticing the answer). In the UK HoME collection, is it possible for the dj with no price and an isbn to be book club? the books i have are 'the treason of isengard and sauron defeated', both are un-priced but with an isbn. the other HoME books i have are clearly trade editions. knowing that i have much less experience in most areas (being from the states) of Tolkien collecting (though fervent in desire to learn all i can in this loved field), i appreciate you guys that make this an inviting atmosphere! with all of the discrepancies surrounding the HoME collection (and now the silmariollion ) and extra points of placing a book in the for sure BCE (which if i understand can be impossible to near impossible) area would be appreciated. what actually sparked this question was reading about ISBN stickers on copies of certain HoME books. thanks for the help in all areas of collection, y'all are great!
4 May, 2008
2008-5-4 10:53:01 AM UTC
For the UK HoME Series, I don't think it is possible to distinguish between Book Club and Trade Editions for Volumes 6 thru 12. Book Club Editions of Vols 1-5 are easily distinguished.

Some Book Club Editions even had printed prices on the Dustwrapper (to the best of my knowledge), so even sticking to collecting the Priced Copies does guarantee that they did not originate from the Book Club.

Possibly (maybe someone can contradict this) the only way to absolutely guarantee that any of Vols 6-12 was a Trade Edition is to buy copies with added Price Labels. But I don't think all of Vols 6-12 had price labels added at some stage. I have seen copies of Vol 9 with Publisher Price Labels and I think I remember seeing one on Vol 12.

So basically, for Vols 6-12, I don't think it really matters to anybody if the book came from a Book Club or not - as nobody can tell the difference.

Just my 2 cents on how I understand this at the moment. Maybe someone else can provide futher information.
4 May, 2008
2008-5-4 5:45:02 PM UTC
thanks remy, seems you touched on just about everything. i find it very ironic and funny that collectors are forced to acknowledge the possibility of having a bce they paid $100+ for (because of the fact that bce are almost always worthless), and i am one of these collectors. But it does come back to the fact that it is, in most cases, impossible to know for sure if the book is a bce.
4 May, 2008
2008-5-4 8:00:08 PM UTC
Somebody contacted me recently for a valuation on some HOME volumes. They had bought 2 sets of volumes in the 80s, all from a book club, but some of the early volumes (1-5) were Allen & Unwin/Unwin Hyman copies, so it looks like BCA purchased A&U copies when their own editions of 1-5 were sold out and then price-clipped them. Just another complication to add to the mix!
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