How do Monthly Series work?
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I'm completely new to buying directly from EP, but have gotten a couple used copies over the years and like them. How do the monthly subscription series work (Like the signed modern classics)? Can I look at the current catalog for that series and prioritize which I want? Can I mark some as not wanted at all? Is it just random based on what they want to send me like most older monthly subscription services? Can I list certain copies that might be going out of print first to ensure I get them?
Also, is there any way to get a catalog list for what is currently available for each subscription before buying into them? Do I just contact customer service?
I searched the forum and it seems most of the answers to similar questions were about a decade old so just wanted to see if anything changed or updated since then.
Thanks for any insights.
Sorry for the late reply. The last series I subscribed to was the ʻReaders Choiceʻ series, and that was a year or two ago. For that series in particular, what would happen was that EP would give you the list of titles, and you would select the ones you wanted. They would then send those througout the year, in whatever order EP printed them, and that was that. For that series at least there was no way to specify the order one received them.
Longer ago, I subscribed to many other longer series. For many I just signed up and took them all (the 100 greatest, the Masterpieces of Science Fiction, etc.).
But the shorter series sometimes have overlap, so for those, I was able to contact EP and let them know wihch ones I did not want, as I already had them in another edition. At time EP kept track of this for me (they knew what I had bought) and would automatically not send me duplicates. I donʻt know if they still have the ability to do that.
My experience with EP customer service has been positive. If you are considering a series to subscribe to, I would think it would be best to phone EP and ask them your questions, and get the answer straight from the horseʻs mouth.
For some of their smaller series I believe that one had to get all or nothing (ʻJust Like Usʻ was perhaps like that), and I therefore passed on some of those as there were too many duplicates.
Which subscription series are you considering?
It’s been many years since I subscribed to a series, but then I could request a list of books. They mailed me a list on which I could cross out the ones I didn’t want and send it back to them. They probably still offer the same service electronically now.
One issue that may come up is that some of the series discontinue books occasionally and replace them with others, thereby complicating the subscription.
Shawn is correct about contacting Customer Service. Most of their agents are knowledgeable. Emails often work better than phone calls, though, because the agent will have time to research the answer to your question.
I was considering MoSF, but it appears the collection isn't as good as what they had in the 80s/90s and most of the books here (https://www.librarything.com/topic/339661#n8032657) have been reprinted numerous times by everyone and their cousin. Same for greatest books ever written. I'm thinking of passing on these for now.
I'm considering either Signed Modern Classics or Signed First Editions, but am leaning more towards the modern classics. One question that I didn't ask before is whether the books in the series are the same ones as the stand-alone versions. For example Neuromancer (https://www.eastonpress.com/signed-editions/william-gibson-neuromancer-a-signed-edition-3120.html) seems to be in both the modern classics collection and as a stand-alone (and the photos looks the same in each for the binding). Do all the volumes in the series also get sold individually? This also may help me identify which volumes may be soon to be discontinued as >4 jroger1: mentioned.
I'll contact customer service and see if I can get a current list of the titles in each series I'm considering to help make my decision.
Regarding the current MOSF, I think one should get a list of the current titles and then decide if one want so proceed. Looking at the web page, it looks like it may be a subset of the prior series, which would be a good place to start.
An obvious thought is that one could likely collect most (but not the highly sought after) issues of the prior series on the secondary market. It depends on how one feels about used books. I personally have no problem with them, as long as they were well kept. And many of these were bought, put on the shelf, and never actually read. One could purposefully seek out those and likely save a lot of money.
The most annoying thing, but one I have learned to live with, are the second hand books which are pristine -- EXCEPT that the prior owner actually used the dang nameplate that came with the book, and attached it to the moire silk or the paper. I definitely just leave it on the paper if so, but have found that it can be carefully peeled of the moire silk. Typically, it may then have rectangle of a different color, but I find that preferable to the nameplate.
But there are a lot of collectors who simply do not want a used book in their collection, or are so in search of perfection that a single small line on the gold leaf ruins the book for them. If one is like that, then it is more difficult, but still doable, to search for second hands.
If you enjoy current literature and value signed editions, then I think either the Signed Modern Classics or Signed First Editions could work for you. The ʻModern Classicsʻ may be a better bet. There are lots of ʻFirst Editionsʻ by all sorts of authors which really are not great reading. Perhaps the ʻClassicsʻ would increase the odds.
For either, I personally would treat it as I approached the other series, including the ubiqutoius ʻ100 Greatestʻ, that is I used it as a challenge to expand my knowledge of the world, of authors I did not know, of lives I had not lived, and of times long ago. It was for me a way to continue learning about new things after college. Whereas if one simply chooses the ones that one already knows they will like, then doors are shut to discovering new authors and live new and different experiences. Hence, just get the book a month and read it whether I thought I would like it or not.
Regarding whether the ʻbooks in the seriesʻ are the same as the stand alone books, I think that many are. It looks like for instance they have many of the older Sci Fi classics the are selling as one offs. But I donʻt know if this is true for all the series. There have been different versions of the same titles over the years within the different series though, with different details, different sizes, etc. But I am not positive about modern offerings.
I donʻt beleve that all the titles in the series get sold individually, particularly for the signed series. At least they did not used to. They do have lots of other indvidually signed books, but I donʻt know that they do so with the current signed series of books. But again, if one really wants to just have some, ask EP if you can get the list beforehand and just mark off the ones you donʻt want so you can avoid the hassle of returning books.
Let us know what they say if you do that, Iʻd be interested in knowing the current policy.
Also, I want to point out the above site for reference. I donʻt know if it is actively maintained, but when I was supplementing my subscriptions with second hand books, I found this site useful for listing all the books in the series, so I would know what to look for.
One can select ʻFamous Editionsʻ or ʻHorror Classicsʻ o what not from a menu.
I know we have resources in this group as well, but just wanted to point out the above for an easy way to get a glimpse of the past series EP has done.
The above site also lists the ʻFranklin Libraryʻ sets. If you are not familiar with this publisher, it was contemporary with the heyday of EP, and published equally (and in some cases more) beautiful books. These too can be found on the secondary market in pristine condition. I expect will be mostly classics and 20th century authors, so donʻt expect anything from this century in there.
I got the list of current titles for each series. Some look like titles they are also selling individually, but not all of them. For example, on the signed modern classics list there isn't ender's game, but they are selling that individually. They are linked here:
I sent a reply once I got the lists asking some additional questions but haven't heard back yet. I'll post the answers here once I hear back.
I also find it really annoying that previous owners use the nameplates. This would make sense if they plan on keeping them for a long time...but I see a lot whose plans I guess changed. Also I've found a couple used copies that have a personal seal stamped in the front.
I'll probably join up for the signed modern classics as that seems to be more of what I would be interested in. You are right that the signed first editions is very hit or miss, while the modern classics seem to veer more towards fantasy and sci-fi.
I've actually got a lot of the classic stuff, which would be in the greatest books series, from either the old Britannica Greatest Books of the Western World (I own the whole series) or the reader's digest World's Best Reading (I own probably 40% of the titles).
The Masterpieces of Science Fiction seems interesting if it was the original full series and it still had some of the embellishments that I've read they removed for this reprinting. I have some of the old series used, such as Zelazny's This Immortal and Lord of Light.
I've seen some of the Franklin Press books in used bookstores. They usually get lumped together with EP. I think I've even got a few, but can't fully remember.
For the past couple years I've been mainly going to used bookstores for stuff since I was finishing my PhD and the stipend from my university wasn't that great. But now that I have a full regular paycheck again I thought I would go directly to the sources. Specialty publishers I like are EP, Folio, Franklin, Subterranean, and Grim Oak. Subterranean and Grim Oak print primarily modern Sci-fi and Fantasy.
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