If you need help deciding which edition of The Lord of
the Rings or The Hobbit to buy, you've come to the
right place. At any given time, there are numerous editions of Tolkien's
books available. There are so many variations, and until you can get your
hands on a copy to examine it closely, it's difficult to tell what the
differences are, some of which might affect your decision to purchase.
For example, if you enjoy Tolkien's maps, you might want an edition with
well-presented maps (such as large, fold-out sheets). Some editions
have re-drawn maps that are not Christopher Tolkien's original drawings.
Some have the map he made back in 1954, and others have his revised map
of 1980. If you plan to read the book many times, you may want an
edition that will stand up to repeated readings. If you don't like
holding a heavy book, then the single-volume editions may not be for you.
If you like to show off your books on a bookshelf, there are many handsome
deluxe editions that look good on display.
Online vendors' descriptions (when they have them) leave a
lot to be desired, are often inaccurate, and the photos don't always show
much. In bookstores, the more costly editions are sometimes sealed
in plastic, and not all of the editions are in stock in order to compare
one to another. This site is your palantir, giving you the
information you need about the various characteristics of each currently
available U.S. Tolkien edition.
©2005 Mike Brinza
Rev. November, 2005