My Tolkien Collection: Paperbacks

Paperbacks 2

(Above: notice the bookmark in ‘Unfinished Tales’ … currently in my second read – notice also, the horrendous lighting setup in all these pictures. Apologies.)

– Your first introduction

If your intention is to read and re-read as much of Tolkien as you can (whether you are a serious collector or not), paperbacks are an indispensable element in your reading experience. Light, easy to handle and containing pretty much the exact same text as any other version, paperbacks will always be there with you. Sure, after a couple of years you’ll start noticing ugly creases along the spine of your books, or brown marks littering the edges of the pages, but the words and the emotion contained inside will still be there.

It seems only natural that, when you’re introduced to a new book or author, you instinctively try and acquire a paperback. If, after reading, your interest increases exponentially (and you start to acquire a taste for collecting), you’ll be making your way through hardbacks and deluxe editions in no time.

Because paperbacks are your first introduction to a particular author or genre.

They are the “stepping stones” towards a new and uncharted reading experience. They’ll be there even after Paperbacks 1you’ve long since passed to more “suitably presented” books (unless you throw them away … blasphemy!).

The same thing has happened with my own collection of Tolkien. Whenever I decide to re-read (or tackle for the first time) a novel or collection of essays, I tend to use a paperback. Furthermore, whenever I need to research a particular subject in the vast framework of Tolkien’s fantasy I prefer the ease-of-use that comes with paperbacks.

If you went through my article on ‘Discovering Middle-earth: Part IV’, you would have read about my ridiculous attempt to begin reading ‘The Two Towers’ first … hence, the reason why I have a different version of the book compared to the first and third one – and honestly, I never got around acquiring a ‘The Two Towers’ paperback which was of the same edition and look as the others … procrastination at its best!

– Special Mention

I had nowhere else to place this, but considering that it’s an essential part of what makes ‘The Bookcase’ so special, here it goes – my very own lenticular poster of Gollum!

Lenitcular Gollum

It’s wonderful to be treated by the 3D-glare of Gollum, as soon as you swing the bookcase doors open – he almost lunges out at you …

And with that, we conclude the ‘My Tolkien Collection’ series. In the meantime, I need to go back to ‘The Bookcase’ and do some dusting!

Which reminds me … my next post will be tackling how I take care of all these books – and the right way to handle them.

10 thoughts on “My Tolkien Collection: Paperbacks

  1. The 3D Empire covers were amazing! I may or may not have a Thorin one on my bedside table πŸ˜‰
    Paperbacks are wonderful to read and re-read, although I’ve since switched to ebooks for my quick fixes. But I doubt they’d look as good on the bookshelf.

    • I was really tempted to get all 5 covers but then I figured I’d rather spend the money on something else, rather than have 5 copies of the same magazine! (even though that left me without the other 4 lenticulars :/ )

      I’m really hoping they do something similar for DOS now – a lenticular Smaug or Beorn would be a fantastic.

      I honestly have yet to try ebooks but, as you correctly stated, the feel of physical paper remains unmatched even during reading πŸ™‚

      • Sorry, was there an actual magazine attached to those awesome images? Couldn’t get past staring at the cover, although I do regret that Thorin doesn’t wink in his πŸ˜‰
        Re ebooks, the first one I read, which was an Agatha Christie novel, took some getting used to. Now I’m hooked. It’s a relief to go on holiday with tons of books and not have them take up half the suitcase.

      • Heh! Empire magazine actually had (as always) a very interesting article on An Unexpected Journey back then. It has published a similar spoilerish article on the Desolation of Smaug in this year’s July issue.

        I agree about the ebooks being a great relief if one has to carry numerous books with him/her.

        Might give it a go one day …

    • Hey Kent, not necessarily. Some book offers give you a free bookmark related to the book, but not always. None of the Tolkien books I’ve acquired had any bookmarks with them. But I remember there was an offer for The Children of Hurin hardback edition – with a bookmark design specially for the book. I’m sure there are copies still available somewhere.

  2. Hey James!

    I’ve been looking to start my own collection and I’ve decided to get this boxset for LotR:

    I hope it’s a good decision, now I’ve been wanting to get all the books in the harpercollins black editions, the ones you have on the right of your shelf.

    But I’m stuck at the hobbit, I’ve literally scoured the internet looking for that black harpercollins hobbit but they’re nowhere to be found, and if they are they are the large print editions.

    Do you have any idea where I could find it?

    • Hey Vince, thanks for leaving your comment πŸ™‚

      The boxed set in the link is a great way to start your collection! Unfortunately that kind of book cover for ‘The Hobbit’ seems to belong to a previous version which has since been replaced.

      If you’d like a coherent collection of dark/black covers (very similar to the ones in the link you provided), why not try this new release set:

      It contains both The Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings with a matching cover theme. (Here’s a video to show you how the books look:

      From then you can proceed with The Silmarillion and Unfinished Tales, that have just been released following that same style.

      Unfortunately, I couldn’t find that particular cover you requested. It seems to happen from time to time. Sometimes it’s best to get hold of a collection before they change covers. I still regret not getting the paperback version of “Roverandom” with that same black-style cover.

      Hope that helps a bit and feel free to comment any time πŸ™‚

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