The Lord of the Rings
 Other Works and Books by J.R.R. Tolkien
The Hobbit
Guide to Audio Editions
The Silmarillion, Unfinished Tales,
and the History of Middle-earth
Selected Out of Print Editions of LOTR
Sources and Influences
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.

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©2005 Mike Brinza      Rev. November, 2005