Low quality Everyman's Library?

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Low quality Everyman's Library?

Oct 17, 2017, 8:13 pm

I recently ordered an Everyman's Library copy of The Handmaid's Tale from a third-party seller on Amazon and the copy I received was not up to the quality of normal EL books. In fact, I was convinced it was a counterfeit and I returned it. Here are some pictures to compare this book with other EL books I have: https://imgur.com/a/0hGuf

Significant differences:
- Different fonts on the spine printing
- Different headband and tailband
- No sewn-in ribbon marker
- No Smythe-sewn binding!!! (The pages are gathered into signatures but they are glued into place)
- Single color printing on title page instead of two-color printing
- Paper is of a lower, rougher quality than others in the series

Thinking that the seller had gotten a counterfeit, I ordered another copy of the book from Barnes & Noble, since I figured they would have more reputable suppliers. It turns out the copy I received from them had the exact same issues as the other copy! I compared again with other books, and I noticed that older books stated "printed and bound in Germany by GGP Media GmbH" while this new book is "printed and bound in the United States of America; Berryville Graphics, Berryville Virginia" and has a copyright date of 2017 on the dust jacket.

Has anyone else encountered these new lower quality books from EL? I searched a bit online and I didn't find where anyone else had mentioned this problem, so I'm hoping it's just a one-time problem with this title, maybe due to them rushing it out to meet demand after the TV series release. Anyway, buyer beware when ordering EL from the internet, I suppose.

Oct 17, 2017, 8:41 pm

>1 cmmitch2: "- No Smythe-sewn binding!!! (The pages are gathered into signatures but they are glued into place)"

I have a hard time understanding how this would work. Wouldn't one need a line of glue down the centerline of every double page?

Oct 17, 2017, 9:14 pm

This message has been deleted by its author.

Edited: Oct 17, 2017, 9:51 pm

>2 kdweber: kdweber: I've seen this technique a lot in new release hardcovers. I believe they cut some slits along the centerline so the glue seeps through the entire signature. Here's an example (The Underground Railroad, published 2016): https://imgur.com/a/glf60

Edited: Oct 17, 2017, 9:51 pm

>3 EclecticIndulgence: EclecticIndulgence: Yes, it is concerning. Even with those old glued bindings the books were otherwise up to EL standards. Now the quality is essentially the same as a Penguin clothbound.

Edited: Oct 17, 2017, 9:53 pm

I've reached out to Knopf to see if this is a one-time thing with this printing and whether future printings will return to the old EL standard. I will let you all know how they respond.

Edited: Oct 19, 2017, 2:27 am

You seem to have the US edition.

- ISBN for UK: 9781841593012
- ISBN for US: 9780307264602

I have always wondered if there might be differences. I have the UK edition and it has none of the issues you have described. It is also marked as typeset in the UK and printed and bound in Germany.

Oct 23, 2017, 2:53 pm

>7 Netpilgrim: Netpilgrim: Good to know that the UK printings are still of the same quality as previous ones. I can always order from a UK bookseller.

BTW, still no response from Knopf.

Edited: Oct 10, 2019, 11:20 am

Hi there, I just received my first copy of a U.S. printed (not to be confused with U.S. published) edition of an Everyman's Library book (George Orwell's 1984) that I also bought from a third-party seller on Amazon. It had the same modifications you describe in your original post. I have 10 other Everyman's Library books and they were all printed in Germany regardless of being U.S. or U.K. editions. The book I have also has a 2017 copyright date on the dust jacket. I'm not in favor of these U.S. printings and would like to avoid them in the future. The cloth book cover is even a different color red from the other modern classics. Does anyone have any ideas what these are all about?

Edited: Nov 28, 2019, 5:40 am

>9 taracomp: I think I remember hearing that some of the US editions are lower in quality than their German counterparts. This was a trial period though I don't know how long it lasted (a year or two?). I purchase the UK editions when both are available, and only have a few US ones where the book was only available for the US market. I *think* that there was one or two of the German printed works that were a tiny bit lower in quality (glued rather than sewn in), however unlike the OP they all have a legible spine, and all have the in-ribbon marker. If you want me to take photos of any Everyman to see what the German printed book is like, list which ones, and I will take photos (I have the full set) and post them, and then you can decide whether you can live with the US version or would prefer to seek out the German printing.
The cloth book covers should all be the same red - I hadn't heard of this problem before, though 1 of the works (Berlioz Memoir's has a dust cover that is pink and looks like the colour has ran - I think it was designed like this), however some of the title pages have the title in red and others in black and white, not sure if this is meant to signify a classic versus a contemporary classic, this isn't something I have considered a potential issue.

Dec 27, 2019, 12:00 pm

Another oddity: I’ve bought two copy of Plum Pie from the Wodehouse set and both have glued bindings. All my other ones are sewn. Has anyone else come across this?

Edited: Jun 3, 2021, 11:21 pm

Being curious about EL quality between the US and the UK and given some of the postings here I wrote to the London office and receivd the following response today:

I can assure you the US and UK editions are completely identical bar the price and sometimes blurb on the cover slip – both editions are reprinted together at GGP in Germany. However, if you would prefer a UK edition you can certainly order them from here, just email the titles you’d like to PenguinExport@penguinrandomhouse.co.uk and they should be able to help. Ella Carr

I hope others find this helpful.


Jun 4, 2021, 1:50 pm

I wrote requsting confirmation as to the method of bindings on the Pocket Poet Series and received this response:
"Dear Frank,
Pocket Poets – both in the UK and US, whose editions are always identical – is the only series which has glued bindings. Adult Classics and Pocket Classics are both sewn."

Sad to say the least!

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