Different editions of Unfinished Tales

Discussion in '"Unfinished Tales"' started by Nerloth, Oct 19, 2006.

?

Which edition do you think is finer?

  1. The Houghton-Mifflin edition

    5 vote(s)
    71.4%
  2. The Harper Collins edition

    1 vote(s)
    14.3%
  3. Another edition (please specify in a post)

    1 vote(s)
    14.3%
  1. Nerloth

    Nerloth Flowerman

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    Hello
    I'm thinking about bying Unfinished Tales, but when I buy a book I always check out what different editions there are, what they look like, possible textual differences etc.

    Now unfortunately there doesn't seem to be as many editions as with Silmarillion and LoTR, which I bought in the luxurious leather bound gilded paper edition, which is awesome. I haven't found any such fine edition for UT though. In my search I've come down to two hardcover-editions which both seem pretty nice, which is the Houghton-Mifflin edition and the Harper Collins edition. If you have any of these please tell me what you think of it. If you also have a camera want to take pictures that shows the front-, back- and spinal covers, table of contents, maps included, paper quality etc. that would be great.

    Or perhaps you know some other edition that you think is finer than both of these? If so please specify.

    Thanks :)
    Regards Nerloth
     
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2006
  2. Alcuin

    Alcuin Registered User

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    Why, are the Houghton-Mifflin and Harper Collins editions different from one another?

    You might try contacting the publishers to ask if they have a presentation-grade edition. They might have one available, or something in stock from the first run, or some such. If you don’t mind spending some money, you might even be able to get one that’s been inscribed: you’ll have to talk to the publisher.
     

  3. Nerloth

    Nerloth Flowerman

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    Why, did you check the links I provided? They have very different covers for one thing...

    Err, I don't want any of that. I'm buying the book new and unspoiled, preferably in as fine quality as possible.
     
  4. Alcuin

    Alcuin Registered User

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    The covers on Tolkien publications have been changing rapidly over the years. Recall the old adage to “never judge a book…”

    My question was more fundamental: are there differences in the printed material? That was what I thought you were asking: there should not be; however, the pagination might be different because of differences in typeface and paper size.

    Then you should definitely contact the publishers and determine what they have available, particularly if you’re looking for something that is of unusually good quality. Only the publisher and collectors are typically going to have such items in pristine condition. You might be able to find a book dealer who has a copy of such an edition.
     

  5. Nerloth

    Nerloth Flowerman

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    No, I don't think there's any differences in text between those. An about judging, well, I'm not really judging... I just think a good-looking cover is important (if it's a good book). ;)

    I don't really understand, do you mean that there are publishers secretly harbouring very exceptional editions whose existance they don't announce until someone specifically asks for them? If so, why would they do that?
     
  6. Alcuin

    Alcuin Registered User

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    There are not “secret editions” or some such, but publishers do sometimes print special editions and presentation editions. I have seen some of these over the years, but they are uncommon items; however, I do not recall having ever seen a presentation edition of Unfinished Tales.

    Publishers sometimes have older editions in stock. You should inquire about those, and describe to them what kind of edition you want. If they have no such copies in stock, they are more likely know which dealers will have them than any other single source.

    It seems to me that if you cannot obtain a presentation edition, a first edition, especially if you can find one inscribed by Christopher Tolkien, should more than meet your criteria. I myself would much prefer an older inscribed volume than a new one with gold leaf on the edging.
     
  7. Nerloth

    Nerloth Flowerman

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    I have searched a lot myself what different editions exists of UT, so if they do exist, they must at least be pretty secret. And why do you write about stuff you don't even know if they exist? That's not helping me.

    The inscribed one would probably be ridicously expensive for no reason except that it has the editor's autograph in the book. Now, if you're 14 year old, I'm sure you think it's cool getting autographs from your idols, you obviously do. I don't, which I've explained for three posts now, so please stop destroying my thread any further, again, you haven't helped me at all.
     
  8. Ithrynluin

    Ithrynluin seeker of solace Staff Member

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    Nerloth, though I see it's been almost two years since you registered at our boards, I would like to extend a welcome to you all the same.

    However, there is no call for being impolite here. Alcuin has perhaps given you more information than you have asked for, but that's certainly not reason enough to get upset.

    That said, I hope you find the edition of the book you are looking for.
     
  9. Nerloth

    Nerloth Flowerman

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    I must have made a misstake. I thought this was a forum with many people of knowledge who shared information with each other. I was obviously wrong. Here people write about stuff they don't even know, and then someone explains that they gave "more" information than needed. No, he didn't even give me "more", he didn't give me anything I needed at all.

    In a good forum this is implicit but here it apperently must be written:
    Do not reply to this thread unless you provide any usefull information - i.e. information that I ask for.
     
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2006
  10. Ithrynluin

    Ithrynluin seeker of solace Staff Member

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    Lovely. Expect a barrage of replies with that congenial disposition.
     
  11. Nerloth

    Nerloth Flowerman

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    Better with no replies at all than worthless ones.
    Thanks for the welcome by the way.
     
  12. Alcuin

    Alcuin Registered User

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    You misunderstand me. I have been fortunate to speak to and in some instances to know personally printers and editors. I have seen, and held, one-off editions of the The Lord of the Rings, and I have spoken to the people who printed them. They tell me that from time to time, publishers do create an odd run for one reason or another. These editions are not intended for wide circulation: they are intentionally rare. Nor is this practice something restricted to The Lord of the Rings: publishers are in business to sell the books they print, and if there is a special request by someone to print an unusual order, and that person is willing to pay for the set-up and printing costs so that it is worth the time and trouble of the printer, the publisher is likely to print it.

    If you care to know if there has been such an edition of Unfinished Tales, the only way to find out is to contact the publisher, ask him – politely – if he has printed a special or private edition; ask him if he still has one in inventory that he is willing to sell to you; and if not, which book dealers might have a copy.

    Printers do not always publicize special printings, and they never publicize private printings. If they have an uncommon edition in inventory – say, the last of a few score copies of a special run – they are only going to tell you about it if that strikes the fancy of the person you ask, and then only if that person happens to know about it: in a large publishing house, not everyone will know about every edition ever printed. If you are rude or demanding or impolitic with this person, you are most unlikely to find what you want, even if the person with whom speak knows all about it and knows there are still copies to be had.

    The only other tack you might try is to speak to a rare book dealer; but you will only find a copy that way if such a copy has come into his hands. You might also luck upon one at a yard sale or estate sale, but that would be on the order of a minor miracle - and you will be required to pay in cash.

    Good luck.


    -|-

    By the way, be very specific about what you’re looking for: leather binding, gold edging, acid-free paper, etc. If the publisher says no, that he has none, ask him what he does have. Ask to speak to the people who maintain the inventory. If you’re really interested in this, and you have the money, ask what they would charge to change the binding for you: it seems to me that you are looking for special binding, and that is what special runs are all about.

    As a last resort, if you can find an acid-free paper edition, but you cannot find a leather-bound, gilt-edged copy, you can take your acid-free paper edition to a binder and ask him to rebind it for you to your specifications.
     
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2006
  13. Nerloth

    Nerloth Flowerman

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    While it's nice of you to try to help I guess, you really ought to check what I'm actually asking for. I don't want a custom-made edition. I simply want to know which is the finest one out of the already existing editions...

    I mailed Houghton-Mifflin as you suggested btw, but as I suspected they didn't have any other editions than the regular ones. So I think I will go for their regular hardcover edition, while it's not fabulous, it's still a pretty fine book I guess.
     
  14. Squint-eyed Southerner

    Squint-eyed Southerner Skulking near Archet

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    Well, that made unpleasant reading, I must say. :(