Easily damaged?

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Easily damaged?

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1digifish_books
Apr 27, 2007, 8:36pm

I recently purchased a number of new Penguin Classics paperbacks, the ones with the black covers such as David Copperfield i.e. http://www.amazon.com/Copperfield-Penguin-Classics-Charles-Dickens/dp/0140439447...

I'm finding that the covers and edges of these editions seem VERY susceptible to edge wear, chipping and other damage.

I am very particular to avoid damage while reading, I crack the book open just enough to be able to read, I don't bend the covers back or put coffee cups on books, etc (my husband has said I'm a bit fanatical about my books :P). Even though I take great care, it saddens me to see my Penguin Classics already looking a bit tatty. My copy of David Copperfield has an ugly white crease down
the spine and dog-eared corners after only one very careful read :(

2Inkthief First Message
Apr 28, 2007, 8:28am

Classics reprints like the ones Penguin produces are great in that they are generally widely avaliable throughout stores and at fairly low cost. The downside is that they aren't designed to last forever, being mass-market paperbacks.

My advice is to have a hunt around at your local second hand bookstore for a nice hardcover edition. They may be pre-loved, (ie: someone inscribing their name inside the cover) but in a decent condition and proper care, they can provide endless joy and last many,many years.

3digifish_books
Apr 28, 2007, 8:48am

Yes, I agree Inkthief, hardcovers are definitely a better investment in the longer term. As you say, the Penguins are mass-market editions made to a price, but then so are Wordsworth Classics and others (which are cheaper still) and yet seem to have much more robust covers (albeit without the nice introductions and appendices, etc of the Penguins) :)

4digifish_books
Edited: Apr 28, 2007, 9:03am

...just noticed this issue mentioned in Wikipedia :

"The imprint publishes hundreds of classics from the Greeks and Romans to Victorian Literature to modern classics. In 2002, Penguin announced it was redesigning its entire catalogue, merging the original Classics list (known in the trade as "Black Classics" with what had been the old Penguin Twentieth-Century Classics list, though the existing silver covers for the latter have so far been retained for most of the titles.

The redesign – featuring a colourful painting on the cover, with black background and orange lettering – was well received. However, the quality of the paperbacks themselves seemed to decrease: the spines were more likely to fold and bend. The paperbacks are also printed on non-acid-free pulp paper which, by some accounts, tends to yellow and brown within a couple of years."

5Inkthief
Apr 28, 2007, 9:15am

I have a few copies of Wordsworth Classics in hardcover (published 2003). Dark blue (pleather?), resiliant to damage and still with that fresh paper and ink smell! I agree that the indexes of the discerning editor are a bonus. It was really interesting reading background info. in Penguin's paperback of The Secret Garden, word origins and the like. I suppose it comes down to a matter paper quality and the publisher producing the edition. Or maybe Wordsworth are reinforcing their books with abandoned and finely pulped Penguins. :)

6euqubud First Message
May 4, 2007, 1:32pm

I've also noticed the decline in the quality of Penguin Classics with their redesign. Because of this and for aesthetic reasons (I try to avoid orange whenever possible) I tend to stick with the previous "rainbow" editions whenever possible.

7Inkthief
May 10, 2007, 6:44am

It's strange how these orange reprints seem so suspect.