Saturday, August 21, 2010

Buying in multiples

I have a serious book purchasing problem.  The reason for this is that I get too excited when I see a book that I really want to read or a book that is a great edition or publication.  I try to hold back on some, waiting for a better edition, but sometimes I just have to have the book and I end up regretting it later when I have multiple copies lining my bookshelves.

I thought I would detail my problem and how the tiered system works.

1. Paperbacks

I barely ever buy paperbacks, but I do receive a bunch as gifts.  I'm not a large fan of paperbacks, but I do have a thing for the ones that have special pages that are unevenly cut.  I don't know what they call this technique but it gets me every time.  A good example is the Centennial Edition of "The Grapes of Wrath".  What do they call this technique?  Anyway, I tend to take paperbacks on trips because I'm not really concerned if they get damaged and they are light weight (which is great for backpacking).  I may leave them at hostels too if I need the space, but I have yet to do so.

2. Hardcovers

I try to buy most of my books in hardcover, because I just like the structure.  I don't like when the spine on paperbacks gets creased, and while these spines crack, I never buy a hardcover with this problem and I don't crack them myself.  The preference is for the larger first edition copies, but I find I have a lot of undersized firsts which really aren't worth anything... but I like the originality of the artwork.  Note that a first edition will eclipse the third tier.

3. Modern Library / Everyman's Library

I love these types of editions, both smaller sized hardcovers which have a consistent spine which looks GREAT on my bookshelves.  I prefer Everyman to the Modern Library's silver covers, and Everyman also has chronological histories of the works of the author, his life, historic events going on in society at the time, and works that other authors are publishing at the time.  It's great reference, and it's really helpful for book club discussions.

4. The Folio Society

Each work is of a limited print run, and they are all works of art.  I also LOVE slipcases and I can't tell you why.  Again with the structure, I imagine... and they just make more sense then dust jackets which tear easily and really don't protect the book from anything, especially dust.

5. Easton Press & Franklin Library
These works are bound in leather.  Easton's are all full leather (mainly bonded) and Franklins can be faux leather, quarter leather (where the spine is bound in leather) or full leather.  These books look great on the shelves, but they are harder to read.  I usually wear white gloves so my hands don't transfer their natural oils, but this is fairly OCD of me.  Other than the look, I really enjoy the high quality paper and smell of the leather.  It's hard to pick a favourite of the two, but I think I enjoy the Franklin Library older versions (from the late 70's) the best because the quality of the leather is remarkable.


Roof Beam Reader said...

1. I am thrilled to see that you are currently reading Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. It was one of my favorite books as a kid, until I re-read it a few years ago and it became one of my favorite novels of all time. The creativity is just a stunning, unimaginable level of brilliance. And Carroll's wit is unbeatable.

2. I absolutely love Steinbeck, and I completely agree with you about the Centennial Editions - I buy these every chance I get. The thicker, softer paper (papyrus, maybe?) cut in that rough, ragged-edged fashion.. it's intoxicating!

3. I don't think I've ever purchased a copy of those leather-bounds; I do have some of the Barnes & Noble versions - such as the Complete Sherlock Holmes and the Complete works of Lewis Carroll (go figure), but these look great. Where do you find them?

Eclectic Indulgence said...

1. I watched the disney movie of "Alice in Wonderland" and I think it completely spoiled me on the book. I also find the wit to be fairly simple. Sorry.

2. Glad I'm not the only one that gets intoxicated by good paper. I also have a thing for the clay paper variety... best example is the Tolkien books made by Harper-Collins that are illustrated by Alan Lee.

3. I find most of my leather books at independent used book stores. You can get them directly at or buy either Eastons or Franklins on ebay. Be aware that they are usually at a huge premium to what I generally pay. The ones that are tough to find... it makes sense to get them directly from Easton (Franklin Library went out of business).

Kristie said...

The uneven cut of those pages is called deckle edge. It is, in modern books, more of an aesthetic purpose. It resembles the old days when book pages had to be cut by the reader (I actually found a library book once that had some uncut pages, which make it unreadable, and therefore confused me). But some people also find it easier to turn the pages, so it can also be functional and not just aesthetic.

Eclectic Indulgence said...

Thanks for helping with the term. I've seen pages uncut, not only on the sides but also on the tops and bottoms [has something to do with how the pages are folded]. I think people used to cut them with pen knives, back in the day.

SocrMom78 said...

How funny about cutting the pages. I'm reading "The House of Mirth" right now for my blog and the main character, Lily, was settling down with a knife to cut pages on the book she was going to read. I had never heard of that before.

I like those Everyman editions too. I think I read Love in the Time of Cholera in that edition. Don't they have the little string bookmarks attached? I LOVE THAT!!

Eclectic Indulgence said...

Yeah, they have little bookmarks sewn in. The newer ones are always gold (the books are red cloth), but they used to make them the same colour as the cloth.

I like them too. The franklins and eastons are made of silk.

Toni Wi said...

Pretty editions are like crack to a book lover. I bought this one cool edition of The War of the Worlds, and then I keep finding other books with the same awesome detail and adding them to the collection. So you're not alone. Oh and I gave you a lovely blog award, hope that's okay :)

Shannon (Giraffe Days) said...

I just learnt today that unevenly-cut pages is called "deckle edge". The first time I saw it used was on the lovely hardcover of Richard Flanagan's The Sound of One Hand Clapping - because I hadn't seen it before I thought this book was a break-through for being the first to do it!