Help me choose the "best" hardcover editions of J. R. R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit.
November 1, 2011 1:37 AM   Subscribe

Help me choose the "best" hardcover editions of J. R. R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit.

I want to get the "best" single-volume hardcover edition of J. R. R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings and also the "best" hardcover edition of J. R. R. Tolkien's The Hobbit. But I'm not sure which editions to get.

My "best edition" criteria is as follows (you may still recommend editions if they don't fully meet the criteria below -- I don't really expect any edition to meet all of the criteria):
  • Must be attractive
  • Must be hardcover
  • Must have few, or no, textual or grammatical errors
  • Must have high-quality binding
  • Must have high-quality paper
  • Must have high-quality print
  • Must not be abridged
You may recommend both in-print and out-of-print editions, but I'll let you know that I likely won't get any edition that typically sells for more than $100 USD.

Thank you kindly. I'm confident that you folks on MetaFilter will help me find editions that I'm fully content with.
posted by GlassHeart to Writing & Language (17 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
 
Sorry I can't help with any recommendations, but you might try cross posting to the Reading Room at TheOneRing.net (here's a similar thread to what you're asking for)
posted by titanium_geek at 2:01 AM on November 1, 2011


The single-volume edition with illustrations by Alan Lee is likely as good as you'll find. It's worth it for the paintings alone.
posted by fso at 4:43 AM on November 1, 2011


I'm with fso regarding the edition illustrated by Alan Lee, but another one I have and like is the 1974 collector's edition.
posted by metaquarry at 4:49 AM on November 1, 2011


As far as the actual text is concerned, any edition since around 2000 is probably best, since the text was extensively checked and corrected around then.

I have the 50th anniversary deluxe hardback which I managed to pick up 2nd hand, which has all three books in a single volume, within a slip case.
posted by daveje at 5:02 AM on November 1, 2011


It is not perhaps as fancy as any of the ones bound or in cases upthread, but my father gave me this edition of the Hobbit when I was a kid, and it's followed me through college and grad school all the way to right now. There is a rather critical review at the top of the list, but my copy, at least, lacks both a forward and the first chapter of LotR, which makes it substantially better.
posted by jetlagaddict at 5:17 AM on November 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


Have you considered joining The Folio Society? Their books are beautiful. I have The Hobbit, and my father-in-law has LotR, and they are very nice indeed. A bit pricey, but sooo pretty. There also appears to be a limited edition version of The Hobbit if you feel like going all in.
posted by joelhunt at 6:12 AM on November 1, 2011


Oops, looks like the price will rule out most of The Folio Society's offerings. Still, aren't they preciousssssssssss?
posted by joelhunt at 6:14 AM on November 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


I have the 50th Anniversary edition of The Hobbit and it's beautiful. Not cheap, though, apparently.
posted by something something at 6:36 AM on November 1, 2011


Argh. Link: 50th Anniversary Edition
posted by something something at 6:37 AM on November 1, 2011


The Lord of the Rings. The Hobbit.

Covers stamped with foil runes; black, red, and green text accents; red and black fold-out maps; matching slipcases. The 50th anniversary edition of The Hobbit is much like the one I linked, only it's gold instead of green.

Definitive, as far as I'm concerned. Not cheap, but worth saving for.
posted by valkyryn at 6:47 AM on November 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


I have a beautiful set that I'd like to sell. Mail me and I'll send you pictures!
posted by Yellow at 7:07 AM on November 1, 2011


valkyryn: "The Lord of the Rings. The Hobbit.

Covers stamped with foil runes; black, red, and green text accents; red and black fold-out maps; matching slipcases. The 50th anniversary edition of The Hobbit is much like the one I linked, only it's gold instead of green.

Definitive, as far as I'm concerned. Not cheap, but worth saving for.
"

These editions, right now, are on my "to get" list. I'll, however, wait for more recommendations before going through with getting them.
posted by GlassHeart at 7:36 AM on November 1, 2011


Those are the versions I have. Weird. I didn't pay $150 for LOTR. It was more like half that. Wonder if the price has risen as a result of the movies?

The best part (for me anyway) is that the LOTR edition resembles the description of the Red Book of Westmarch.

Now all I need is a cheap copy, to let my kid paw through until I can trust him with the nice version.
posted by caution live frogs at 8:19 AM on November 1, 2011


caution live frogs: "Those are the versions I have. Weird. I didn't pay $150 for LOTR. It was more like half that. Wonder if the price has risen as a result of the movies?"

Note that the $150 pricetag is for a new copy (unread/unused) of that particular edition. That edition is from 1974 so the $150 for it is understandable.

The lowest used price for that particular edition on Amazon is just $35.
posted by GlassHeart at 8:31 AM on November 1, 2011


Houghton Mifflin Harcourt now has a 50th Anniversary edition of the Lord of the Rings out for $90, which looks in many respects similar to the 1974 edition linked above but has the advantage of currently being in print and thus easier to get ahold of. I don't remember whether my 1974 edition has the color foldout advertised there or not...
posted by valkyryn at 12:32 PM on November 1, 2011


That new one is over here at Amazon for $55.
posted by smackfu at 6:25 AM on November 2, 2011


smackfu: "That new one is over here at Amazon for $55."

It's just $43.33 CAD on The Book Depository.
posted by GlassHeart at 1:29 AM on November 3, 2011


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