The Retread Thread

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The Retread Thread

kesäkuu 1, 6:53 pm

In a momentary break from my book buying ban I picked up a 2003 copy of Keay's "India: A History" from a used bookstore. It was 1/7th the cost of the new version. The production is excellent. The binding, slipcase and interior photos are gorgeous and I couldn't fathom spending an additional $240 + shipping for a slightly newer edition.

It makes me wonder what people here would need to see in a new edition to upgrade a FS copy they already own. So aside from straight reprints or Limited Editions, has anyone either loved a book or a new design or additional materials so much they bought a second copy or replaced an FS book they already have?

If anyone has two editions of a book, have you kept both? Why? What were the differences and was it worth it?

A prelim list of some titles the FS has done multiple versions of:

Jane Austen Sets
(I have neither, but would probably buy the newer gold ones)

Dickens Sets
(I have a smattering of the green and the leather. And the collectables of Christmas Carol. Don't care about any full set)

Miss Marple stories
(Have the original. The drawings suck, but I really like the cover and spine.)

Herodotus & Thucydides
(Have the Myths and Legends versions. Am tempted to getting the set with the armour on the spines.)

Heart of Darkness
(Have the blue one as part of the set. No need for a duplicate, although it looks really cool.)

(Have the Cornish set. Same as Heart of Darkness.)

(Have neither. Would probably buy the new one, although it looks huge.)

Jungle Book
(Have the old set, doesn't match my new version of "Just So Stories." Oh well.)

Silent Spring
(Have neither. Does anyone have both? Any preference?)

(Have neither. Really like the look of the new one.)

Waiting for Godot
(Have neither. Both look fairly dull.)

India: A History
(Have the old one. Don't think I would ever upgrade. It's awesome.)

Live and Let Die
(Have neither. The complete set makes sense, rather than this weird one-off. I'm sticking to my paperbacks either way.)

The Right Stuff
(Have neither. Does anyone have both? Any preference?)

Journal of the Plague Year
(Have neither. I read the Penguin paperback. Does anyone have both?)

Franchise Affair & Daughter of Time
(Have both the older versions. Would like to upgrade for the Mark Smith illustrations.)

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings
(Had the old one. Gave it away because it was ugly. Don't see buying the new one.)

Please add to the list. Which of those would you get? How much time should pass before they do new editions? Is there a book you want a redesign of? Nerd out, devotees!

kesäkuu 2, 12:36 am

Rebecca: have the Cornish set. Slightly tempted to renew because I prefer color artwork.

I capture the castle. Have the old one. Don’t feel tempted to get the recently released. I didn’t like the cover.

Gormenghast: Have the 1992 reprint. Don’t feel tempted to switch to the LE because though they say it’s a thing of beauty, the idea of an open spine horrifies me.

Brideshead Revisited: have a very badly foxed 2007 green cloth reprint. Rather than feeling tempted to switch to the newer quarter-bound brown/white, I prefer getting a mint copy of the green cloth edition

kesäkuu 2, 3:43 am

I forgot about Brideshead and I Capture the Castle, both of which I have the older versions. There seems to be a downgrade on the new "Castle" with no introduction and far fewer illustrations.

If it weren't for the Green Brideshead being essentially free for me ($5) I would favour the version with the Brockway illustrations.

kesäkuu 2, 3:58 am

I upgraded Monkey and Middlemarch. I don't share people's fondness for older Folios — for me the typography on the more modern editions is vastly superior, making for a more pleasant reading experience even before the changes to binding and illustrations (which I favour in both newer editions).

Muokkaaja: kesäkuu 2, 4:21 am

I admit to three editions of Paradise Lost: the Blake-illustrated one was among my early Folio purchases, I sought out the earlier Ian Pollock one which I greatly admire, and I eventually gave way in a sale to the John Martin version with commentary volume, despite well-founded doubts that I would ever arrange to spend much time at my desk with two oversized volumes open at once. A single-volume presentation would have been a much swifter purchase.

I'm also harbouring both the single-volume Divine Comedy and the quarter-leather three volume set: very different translations and formats. Haven't been at all tempted to replace any other revisited works: the complete Trollope, a uniformly red-spined Jane Austen, twenty year old LOTR etc. are secure in their places, as is Dickens I barring the unlikely event of Dickens III turning up at a bargain price. An old complete edition of George Eliot has prevented me from indulging in any of Folio's offerings.

kesäkuu 2, 8:05 am

Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám. I have four different FS editions, plus five from other publishers. The illustrations and the way the images interpret the poem make each edition a very different book. By the end of the year, I should also have an edition in ceramic form - I'm almost two thirds of the way through producing a set of 75 slab-built vases, with one stanza etched into each vase. I am aware that this is not normal behaviour.

kesäkuu 2, 9:11 am

Around the World in 80 Days -- The 2021 version is beautiful (especially compared to the underwhelming 1982 edition), has over four times the illustrations and includes a bonus foldout map.

Muokkaaja: kesäkuu 2, 10:38 am

I guess I am a bit of an outlier. I almost never reread books (meaning I have re-read perhaps three or four novels in my life). So while I have on a couple of occasions bought a nice edition of a mich loved paperback just for the sheer pleasure of having it, I would generally struggle to justify going from one already nice edition to another unless it happens to be a book I haven't gotten around to reading yet.

kesäkuu 2, 11:37 am

>8 ubiquitousuk:
I guess I’m an outlier too. There are too many great books that I haven’t read to spend my time repeating one.
In a few instances I’ve reread a book that I read first in high school but didn’t understand very well.

I have on occasion bought a second copy because I really like the illustrations, but I understand that I am paying for the art.

kesäkuu 2, 11:46 am

I stuck with my standard edition for Live and Let Die since the price for what you got with the upgrade was outrageous. The extra illustrations would have been nice, but I actually prefer the cloth, cover and size of the standard edition of the limited edition.

The same goes for Dune, the price was over the top, there were very few extra illustrations, and I preferred the original cover. The solander box was a nice idea, but again, not worth the price tag to me.

I did fall for the new Hitchhiker's Guide, though, since there were a lot more new illustrations and I rather like the metallic foiling. One could argue about the rise in price here, too, though it was less over the top than with the two above considering you got 6 books, not just one.

Muokkaaja: kesäkuu 2, 4:23 pm

I've only ever 'upgraded' one Folio volume/set: I replaced the green silk Brontes with the blue bindings. Initially the green silk was lovely, but didn't fade well IMO. I gave the set to a niece who loved the Brontes but couldn't afford a hardback set. It remains much loved.

Specifically about those editions OP mentions, where I have an edition:

Jane Austen Sets: Have the older set, Joan Hassall illustrated set (my freebie on joining up). Love this edition, and find the new one far too blingy (gold for goodness' sake!).

Dickens Sets: Have the set with Charles Keeping illustrations, repeated on the covers. Keeping is, to me, the perfect Dickens illustrator, and this set is one of my favourites.

Middlemarch: Had the complete Folio set, which I sold - I found the bindings with the cartouche illustrations (disappointing IMO) singularly unattractive. I have the set in another early 20thC edition, but also have Middlemarch in the one-off blue 'elephant-hide' binding, which I really like: eminently readable. I find the new edition over-produced, in being far too big and garishly coloured.

Jungle Book: Have the old set, excellent.

Silent Spring: old edition, far more interesting cover. The new one looks far too twee to me. However, intend to replace with Library of America omnibus edition.

Journal of the Plague Year: Bought the old one second hand for around a fiver. Don't see the new one offering anything more.

>2 dyhtstriyk:
I Capture The Castle. Have the old one. Don’t feel tempted to get the recently released. I didn’t like the cover.
Totally agree.

Gormenghast: Have the 1992 reprint. Don’t feel tempted to switch to the LE because though they say it’s a thing of beauty, the idea of an open spine horrifies me.
Can't say I think it's very beautiful! And the older edition is one of Folio Soc's stronger productions (IMO).

Brideshead Revisited: have a very badly foxed 2007 green cloth reprint. Rather than feeling tempted to switch to the newer quarter-bound brown/white, I prefer getting a mint copy of the green cloth edition
I bought a Fine edition of BR for around £10 at the time the new edition came out. Love it, and see no need to change.

The only book I have multiple FS editions of is Gilbert White's Selborne book - I prefer the small marbled edition for day to day reading (love the set), and have the large edition for the illustrations. Came close to selling it, as again it's just t too large, but being a total White fan, just about hung on to it for these.

There are several other editions where I've bought the older version on the secondary market at the time the newer one comes out - perhaps people selling off older editions when 'upgrading'? Given the price differentials nowaday, I don't think I've ever felt the newer one worth the difference. As with >5 terebinth: , my 20+ year old LOTR set (cream elephant-hide) is safe! I've sold off all my LEs, and replaced with/kept standard editions - thus have 3-vol Chaucer with parallel translation (by far my favourite FS edition) and sold the LE and the Kemscott (standard).

kesäkuu 2, 4:58 pm

>6 CLWggg: What a cool project. How big are these vases? If you can upload a picture I would love to see them. At most I've had four copies of the Rubaiyat (only one FS), but gave away two of them.

>7 HonorWulf: I didn't even know about the older version of "Around the World". I have the current one and really like it. Gimmicks like the map are why I love FS editions!

kesäkuu 3, 5:01 am

Thanks, >12 PartTimeBookAddict:! They range in size from 13 cm high to 27 cm high – I’ve been using different shapes, sizes and glazes to create a varied series. I’ve started taking photos and uploading them to a dedicated Instagram account ( ), although I’m a bit behind with that. The lettering doesn’t always photograph particularly clearly, but it’s enough to give an idea.

kesäkuu 3, 9:28 am

>13 CLWggg: that's brilliant!

kesäkuu 3, 11:32 am

I did replace an ugly series of Trollope's Barset novels (the set where Julian Symons introduced the full set) for a much more handsomely bound set with a greater variety of authors (P.D. James, A.N. Wilson, Antonia Fraser, etc.) writing the introductions.

kesäkuu 3, 2:37 pm

>13 CLWggg: Those look amazing! What an interesting project. Good luck with the rest of them.

kesäkuu 6, 10:30 am

>15 jillmwo:
Each to their own! I sold off my set of later Barchester novels, and bought the earlier ones, which I prefer. I found the pale paper sides of the later volumes horribly vulnerable to the slightest mark. I've collected the rest of the Trollopes in a completely different edition.

kesäkuu 7, 2:06 pm

>17 Willoyd: I preferred the artwork in the earlier series but, from my perspective, the introductions supplied by Symons didn't add add sufficient value. As an example, the introduction to the Warden in the later set was much more informative as to the real-life legal events that inspired the novel's plot. I haven't yet gotten through all six volumes of the Barset novels, but hope to do so before the end of the year. (I hadn't noticed the same issue with the paper stock that you mention, but will keep an eye out. )

kesäkuu 8, 7:54 am

>17 Willoyd: I've heard this complaint about the paper sides of Folio's complete Trollope set before, but I've read several of the volumes in the complete set and the covers don't show any marks at all - and I don't think my hands can be much different to other people's. I do generally wash my hands though before reading any Folio or other 'fine' edition. I also avoid eating chocolate or crisps when I read Folios, something I wouldn't feel the need to do if I were reading a paperback or Easton Press edition for example, so I am in fact grateful to Folio for improving my dietary health!

>18 jillmwo: Like you I had initially bought Folio's early set of the Barchester novels but soon replaced them with volumes from the later complete set. Not only do I find the latter much more handsome and Trollopey on the shelf, I prefer the typography and as you say the introductory material is far better. I agree the illustrations don't add much. During my peak Foliomania of a decade ago, I acquired all 47 volumes, but post-treatment have retained only the six Barchester and six Palliser titles, The Way We Live Now, Orley Farm, The Vicar Of Bullhampton, He Knew He Was Right, The American Senator, and the Autobiography. As much a fan of Trollope as I am, I acknowledge that I'm never going to read all his works (I'm not going to live long enough and there are so many other great writers and novels) and some novels are definitely not as good as others.

Muokkaaja: kesäkuu 8, 12:14 pm

>19 cronshaw: After finding smudging to the spines of my FS after reading, I now always use a leather book cover when reading or transporting, items designed for Bible/Quran market found in various sizes, with no further handling damage done.

kesäkuu 8, 2:37 pm

>20 DanielOC: That's a great idea, thanks for the suggestion, though it might have a terrible effect on my diet.

kesäkuu 9, 3:38 pm

>19 cronshaw: I have some of those same titles in Folio editions -- The Way We Live Now, and The Vicar of Bullhampton and The American Senator. My set of the Palliser novels are all relatively common Everyman's Library editions from the '90's. I enjoy Trollope but can't read too many of them in a row. And re-reading him this year, I can see why he largely appears on syllabi in the form of either Barchester Towers or The Way We Live Now. I imagine nowadays *most* people haven't read all of his work. I do it more on a nibble by nibble basis myself. (Same way I read Wilkie Collins.)

I value a really substantive introduction to a classic title when I purchase a high-end edition. It bothers me immensely that Penguin and Everyman's seem to have largely given up commissioning new introductions for some of these traditional British titles. (Economically, it makes sense to spend that money on the introductions to less-well-known titles, but it does appear at times, that scholarship about the Victorians all stopped back in the 1990's.)