Everyman's simply beautiful books

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Everyman's simply beautiful books

Edited: Jun 23, 2007, 11:18 am

I have just come from the Great Books of the Western World group, which made me remember how few really read those heavy, difficult-to-handle tomes - and how delightfully comfortable it always is to settle down with one of those lovely little Everyman's Library books.

They are, as I said, lovely, and on top of that, they are durable. I don't really think any book can match an Everyman's.

Jun 23, 2007, 12:52 pm

I agree. And one can say the same for the Yale Shakespeare, with each play in a separate, small volume. The collected works are cumbersome and forbidding.

Jun 23, 2007, 2:53 pm

I like them also, but wish the pages weren't quite so thin.

Jun 24, 2007, 3:40 am

Well said thecardiffgiant!

AndrewL, thanks for your comment. I take your point about the pages being on the thin side, but that is not a problem for a CAREFUL book handler such as myself. I pass over my Everyman's only to those who absolutely love books.

Edited: Jun 25, 2007, 12:41 pm

I am not a book collector, I am a word collector, they are just best packaged in books. And some of the best packaging ever is the old Everyman editions.

Small, neat, durable and very readable with usually a book list in the back which pretty much mirrors my own reading wishlist. What other series can you find Thomas Babington Macaulay's History John Evelyn's Diary and Richard Hakluyt's voyages.

I can literally say Everyman turned me into a reader. Inheriting a complete Dickens collection in the small red volumes, obviously collected as shelf fillers and scandalously unread, I felt I must do them justice and read them. Taking a writer I may never have read in 100 years the books made him my favourite author and shifted my entire book reading focus if not my entire world view.

Aside from dog-eared penguins (i'm a cheap-skate) Everymans are the books I mainly buy. I do not know how I managed to resist throwing away a brand new copy of The Anatomy of Melancholy to buy a battered Everyman version in three volumes which would be so much more convenient to read on the bus.

Jun 24, 2007, 11:28 am

uffishread, you nearly had me in tears!

Jun 24, 2007, 6:51 pm

mysticskeptic - my comment about the thin pages wasn't related to how delicate they are, rather that you can see the text on the other side.
Still, I think it's an amazing publication, and I really approve of the initial reasons for it.

Edited: Jun 27, 2007, 10:41 am


Sorry about the misunderstanding. You make a good point. From the Everyman's in my collection, however, the slight (in my opinion, and I am a fussy type) problem is only apparent in something like one in four. This is not an extensive survey, and of course some books are of higher quality than others.

What do other members think about this?

Jun 27, 2007, 7:50 pm

I don't mind that sort of thing. In fact, I kind of like it in older books in which the paper, though thinner, is of much higher quality. There are clearly periods in the production of books in which paper and binding were done cheaply or improperly, the pages growing brittle and yellow, etc., despite the weight of the paper. And then there are those light volumes that may have seemed flimsy at the time of production but whose quality has shown for nearly a century. In a way I appreciate the individual book that much more in such cases.

Jan 26, 2008, 12:31 am

I've noticed some of my EL have the thin pages, and some have much nicer thicker pages.
I've been trying to determine another way of distinguishing between the two. I thought for a while that the extra Knopf on the bottom of the spine (some have it, some don't) might be it, but it doesn't seem so.
Zeno's Conscience has the nice cream coloured paper, Bembo typeface, smooth thick paper. Heart of Darkness for example has much whiter, thinner paper, low quality typeface.

Anyone know?

Mar 19, 2008, 5:58 pm

I grew up in a house full of books that had been handed down through the generations and because of that inherited a lust for the beauty and craftsmanship of old books. Unfortunately, I haven't also inherited an income that lets me buy the rarities I crave. So I've kind of started collecting old Everyman editions because they're so lovely and so practical--the 1910 edition of The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire has some of the most gorgeous end papers I've ever seen, but also fits in my hand and tote bag easily. Is there some kind of clearinghouse for information on these old editions? And is there a particular market for them? In other words, is there ever a chance that I might turn a little profit from collecting them?

Sep 4, 2008, 9:51 pm

Terry Seymour wrote the helpful Guide to Collecting Everyman's Library series. Turning a profit, likely not. Formally collecting the series isn't as wide spread as, let's say, collecting the Modern Library series, which also has a collectors guide by Henry Toledano called The Modern Library Price Guide, and the collectors website www.modernlib.com. The website is created almost entirely by collector input over the last several years. No such animal for the Everyman Series, although building such a website would certainly encourage collecting the series. There is a beautiful, instructive website for collecting the series (http://www.everymanslibrarycollecting.com/), but it is not as thorough as modernlib.com is for that series. EL is certainly, absolutely worthy of it. I have 3 beautiful sundial dust jacket images to contribute to the effort if anyone can get the website rolling.

May 4, 2010, 1:31 pm

What is the difference in design between Everyman's and Library of America (LOA)?

May 5, 2010, 4:05 pm


Superficially, the volumes of the Everyman's Library (EL) and the Library of America (LOA) series are very similar. Both are roughly the same dimensions with Smyth-sewn cloth cases and silk ribbon markers. EL uses European-style half-round spines while LOA have flat spines bound with the grain of the paper so they open easily and lie flat. Both use acid-free paper, EL's is a higher weight cream and LOA is a lighter weight fade-resistant white. EL volumes are printed in various fonts and sizes, LOA uses a standard Linotron Galliard 10-point font in all volumes. EL come in eight different colors: sand (poetry), mauve (ancient), light green (non-western), light blue (17th century), dark green (18th century), dark red (19th century), dark blue (20th century), and scarlet (contemporary). LOA come in four colors (no color-coding assigned): red, blue, green, and tan. Most EL books are jacketed and all volumes are being jacketed as they go through reprints. LOA is either in a slipcase (subscribers) or in a black jacket (retail) and are packaged in plastic wrap from the publisher.

Edited: May 5, 2010, 4:45 pm

Thank you for clarifying the difference for me. I am having a difficult time deciding which to publisher to go for. I almost know very little about american literature thus the reference to LOA - their website and subscriber program is interesting whereas it seems EL has world literature as focus. I'm more attracted to slipcases as I am also a Folio Society member.

Is there a subscription program for EL or do you just acquire their books through leading books sellers?

I would really appreciate if someone could post just some pictures showing the binding of EL.

May 8, 2010, 3:45 pm

ironjaw: Try the web site: randomhouse.com/everymans

There are some pix on there.

I subscribe to LOA and Everyman's is my go-to for non-American titles, though I have to be sure of the translation for non-English works. There is no subscription for Everyman's.

May 8, 2010, 5:25 pm

Thanks bsc20! I was looking for a pleasant hardback copy of Decline and Fall of Rome. I found that Everyman does a complete (unabridged) Edward Gibbon with all the footnotes. Folio Society unfortunately has trimmed it.

I do like the LOA slipcases. I might just follow your advice and just subscribe to LOA and buy Everyman now and then (much nicer without their dust-jackets) - yes the translation is dealbreaker

May 8, 2010, 5:44 pm

Among English works, be careful of the Everyman's Frankenstein. When I considered buying it some years ago, I found that it was not the original 1818 text, the one generally thought to be closest to Shelley's intentions. Chicago and Oxford paperbacks appear to be the best bets. They may have gone with a new text since, but you should check.

May 8, 2010, 7:28 pm

Thanks, I'll keep that in mind, I haven't bought Frankenstein yet and it was in my mind to acquire it soon

Apr 17, 2012, 9:59 am

This message has been deleted by its author.

Apr 22, 2012, 12:17 pm

Just picked up two Everyman's for $8.99 apiece remaindered: Conrad's Victory and Johnson, A Journey to the Western Isles of Scotland (with Boswell's Journal). Haven't read these before so they are a great pickup.

Jul 23, 2012, 5:49 am

>15 ironjaw: ironjaw

A few years late but pictures are up in another thread in this group. I think I'll even put up a website and post binding details on books I buy. But finding out that some Everyman's Library books were glued was really frustrating as I didn't expect it.

As I stated in the other threads please, report on the books you have: Title, number of pages, publishing date and whether it's glued or sewn. Should not be hard to notice the difference. I hope to find some common factor for glued and sewn so I (we) can decide my (our) next purchase.

Jul 23, 2012, 8:02 am

>22 adhesive: adhesive

I stumbled upon your post today about the glued spine of some EL books. I't's quite shocking indeed and I believe it's a good idea to list or report EL books that are glued so as to avoid them!

On another note how are you finding LOA? Are you happy with their catalogue? I am mostly interested in non-fiction ie. on history and founding fathers, etc. I have been tossing and turining about the idea of joining but am to concerned with taxes on my side of the pond. $25 + $15 shipping is not that much but with around 35 to 40% taxes on top makes a lot of difference. Maybe I should make another topic over in LOA

Edited: Jul 23, 2012, 9:10 am

I'm happy with my LOA books, they are as advertised by LOA and every review I've read. I don't have any non-fiction books, only fiction. They include, Poe books, Lovecraft, Bierce, Dick collection and am about to buy all the Mark Twain books. I'll buy the Melville and Nabokov collection in the near future. Other then that I'm waiting for more recent authors. I didn't do my research on Nabokov and didn't think he would be included in LOA's catalogue thus the EL purchase of Lolita. Note though that the EL fatties are good to but the whole impression of their catalogue is lowered when some books are glued, a shame really as EL and LOA books complement each other very well with the books being in similar dimensions and EL including world fiction. Now I feel I'm reading to much American literature which wasn't my original idea but LOA is very good at what they do.

Regarding subscription. I'm located in Sweden and asked them a month ago if they send books from USA or somewhere in Europe to European subscribers. They told me it was sent directly from the US. I don't think we have any tariff on books in Sweden but the taxes are 6%. It's not a huge amount of money but the shipping is cumbersome (whatever carrier it is they use) and something I'm trying to avoid (FedEx DHL and so on, I like our domestic that leaves the package at some store for me to pick up). Note that they are very easy to find and rather cheap in Sweden (40$ for ISBN13: 9781883011185, with 1$=7 SEK it's about 280 SEK and I can find it for 250 SEK in the usual shops). So I asked if I could buy the slipcases without becoming a member (as I do like the dust-jackets as well and would like to have them to). They said 4$ per slipcase and 24.50$ shipping regardless package size. With the slipcases the price gets around the advertised 40$. My idea is to buy a lot of slipcases in one batch from them when I have most of the books I want or order in advance.

You should mail them and ask specifically for your country though. What country is it, if you don't mind me asking, the taxes on books sound huge! I hope I at least gave some useful information even though I'm not subscribing. I guess it would be good to ask over in the LOA group.

EDIT: Saw your post over there now, should I say good luck, or hope you come to some good conclusion on what to do :).

Jul 23, 2012, 2:12 pm

Thanks for your reply. I'm located in Denmark so not that far from Sweden! Our base tax is 25% with 150 kr on top for Post Danmark for handling, they charge the import tax and some other taxes on the total amount incl. shipping, but whenever I calculate the initial tax on the books I buy from the US they always amount to at least 33%, ranging up to 40% on top of the total cost. It's always been the case unfortunately and I end up paying hefty for my purchases from abroad. I would like to know what seller you use to buy from in Sweden, maybe they ship to DK?

Jul 23, 2012, 2:48 pm

http://www.bokus.com, they ship to Denmark (among many other countries but I cannot see if they have a site on a language other then English). Have ordered from them many times and works good.

http://www.adlibris.com/dk/ (I have ordered from the Swedish site a few times, they have been generous and have he lowest prices by a few SEK as far as I can see). Looks like the standard site now. The Danish site does have higher prices though. For example. ISBN13: 9780940450653 (221 SEK) -> (252 DDK), with the current exchange 1.14 -> 287 SEK. Around 22% more expensive. I would guess that's your taxes and nothing the store can do about (Sweden have 6% on books as I said earlier).

http://www.cdon.com They should work as well. Have ordered a few times, once book and it worked well. Can be much cheaper on some titles with their continuous discounts.

So, I don't know. Maybe try the Swedish bokus but I would guess that Post Denmark might charge something then. Although I, for some reason, think Post Denmark and the Swedish Posten are merged, what that now means for us. Heck, maybe try the Norwegian site if they have 0% tax on books although they are outside the EU, but I guess no tariffs and taxes should be added when importing from them.

Jun 15, 2021, 7:32 pm

I just received my first volume in the EL Children's Classic series, "Heidi" and would like others' opinions. While described as a hardback, the covers seem very thin and flexible to me, not even as heavy as a traditional Trade Book, do you folks feel the same? How have they held up with time? Are all Everyman's Library volumes fitted with these thin covers, or something better? At last they are sewn bindings, tat least, that's a positive. Th book is attractive, easy to read print and reasonably nice paper considering the affordable price.

Feb 1, 2023, 6:03 pm

This is a very old question, but no one seems to have answered it, and someone might find it interesting. Dent wanted the thickness of the books to be uniform. Books with fewer pages needed thicker pages than a book with hundreds more pages. Alfred J. Hoppé, who worked at Dents, gave a lecture on their production practices that was published in the nineteen-thirties, very interesting. See "A talk on everyman's library" by Alfred J. Hoppé.

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