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Series uniformity

Folio Society devotees

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Jan 13, 6:01pm Top

Wondering how much everyone cares for series uniformity. I often don’t care - for example, and I expect shudders, I started buying the Patrick O’Brian books from FS back when they came out, but didn’t have the patience for them to finish and bought the remaining volumes from Easton Press. As well, I have almost all of the FS Trollope set, except for those published by Everyman’s Library, which I started with, and a couple of the older FS set. As well, I finally ordered the newest edition of The Warden. I have most of the Everyman’s Library books (newest versions) and often only buy the FS or other editions to supplement them. That being said, I did just order the three new Brontë volumes. Stuff like that doesn’t really bother me and I like variety. Thought it would be interesting to see what everyone does for their collections.

Jan 13, 6:11pm Top

Uniformity in the sense of a publisher maintaining consistency across its own series of books? Within reason. As long as they keep the basic template intact (motif and materials, foremost). Colour and illustrator changing up doesn't bother me necessarily.

Mixing and matching volumes from different publishers? Wouldn't be keen on this.

Jan 13, 8:08pm Top

I prefer uniformity, but it doesn't always end up that way. For example, my Conrads are a mix of LECs and Folios, which in turn are all non-uniform. And not only LECs - Folios too, as the latest Heart of Darkness (that just sold out in the sale) sits next to the individual volume of The Duel from the Conrad series.

Edited: Jan 13, 8:31pm Top

>1 RRCBS: I am shuddering.

Jan 13, 9:13pm Top


I have to confess I do like uniformity in collected editions:

However, the Rainbow Fairy books, for example, manage to have variety within their uniformity which can also be pleasing.

Jan 13, 10:10pm Top

The varied uniformity of FS books such as the Rainbow Fairy books and the Victorian set are very pleasing.
You can go into a second-hand book and scan the shelves quickly. FS books stand out from the crowd because of their style, binding and slipcases.

Jan 13, 10:14pm Top

>5 boldface: Lovely shelves and delighted to see a fellow collector of The Trollope Society volumes!

Jan 13, 10:33pm Top

>4 Forthwith: You are not alone!

Jan 14, 7:14am Top

>1 RRCBS: I don't need the books to be too uniform, but they shouldn't vary in height or depth and the spines shouldn't clash (the worst offender in this category is the hardback Wheel of Time series).

Jan 14, 10:16am Top

>5 boldface:

{dribbling uncontrollably} God, Jonathan, I love your shed!

Jan 14, 4:18pm Top

>9 c_schelle: "the hardback Wheel of Time series" The whole series? Did you manage to read on past vol. 7?

Jan 14, 5:06pm Top

>11 HuxleyTheCat: Once you muddle through 9, they start getting better. Then the change of author actually helps a lot.

Edited: Jan 14, 8:34pm Top

I tend to keep a healthy distance between mixed series - my bookcase space seems to be always limited so there's a certain merit required for a book to make it to the front seats.

Jan 14, 11:07pm Top

My favorite Folio books are those like the Fairy books where the bindings are complementary but not identical.

I like uniformity enough to wish my copy of Tey's Daughter's of Time was the newer edition, which matches other recent Tey releases, but not enough to pay full price for another copy. If it ever ends up in a sale with a good discount, I'll be tempted, though.

Jan 14, 11:42pm Top

I’m not a fan of the Folio’s varying height and design. I do like similar but different designs on a spine when Folio does this, but must admit that almost none of my Folios are allowed in my library due to their individuality.

I also have the complete Everyman series (post 1991) and think their uniformity (or near) works very well.

I do occasionally mix series, though try not to unless there is a good reason. Currently I have the first 3 and then 6th in the Palliser series by Trollope (Everyman). I was hoping the Everyman would publish 4 and 5, but will pick up the Folio versions of these later this year so I can finally read The Duke’s Children.

Edited: Jan 15, 2:19am Top

>11 HuxleyTheCat: Yes, the whole series. The later books improve much over the middle of the series. I reread the series quite often when I was younger and had less interest in more classic literature. Brandon Sanderson did a wonderful job tying all lose ends together.

Edited for grammar.

Edited: Jan 15, 11:18am Top

I actually like something with variation (e. g. colour or images) within a certain uniformity (size, style) like the Fairy Books much better than complete uniformity. The only larger series where one book looks very much like the other that I put into a prominent position on my shelves anyway is the Virginia Edition of Robert Heinlein, and I would have preferred the original plan of giving these individual dust jackets that would have formed a larger image together. But the somewhat extreme range of FS books with regard to size actually isn't really my thing, especially when they make books larger than they really need to be (through very large margins etc.).

Jan 15, 10:34am Top

>17 SF-72: I agree that some slight variation is better - I prefer the Everyman Wodehouse to the Everyman Classics as this has 99 volumes whose spines are slightly different colours. I have found myself at times purchasing Folio books as they are part of a grouping and I already own some

Jan 15, 11:48am Top

>17 SF-72: the somewhat extreme range of FS books with regard to size actually isn't really my thing, especially when they make books larger than they really need to be (through very large margins etc.).

Yes, they do that far too frequently, especially with LEs.

Jan 17, 9:23pm Top

Unless it is more or less the same story broken into multiple books, something akin to Lord of the Rings, I actually prefer books by the same author to have different designs, in part to break up the uniformity. I want the best, most suitable book for each story, and that often means a mix and match of publishers, sizes, and designs. As far as genre or oeuvre series with all matching designs, I tend to stay away from those. (Which is one key reason why I prefer Folio Society to Eason Press).

Jan 18, 5:18am Top

>20 mnmcdwl: I’m with you. Shelves or walls of uniformity make me think (rightly or wrongly), “there’s a lot of unread books!” Of course I have shelves of unread books too, but I’m happy not to have to squint at the titles when I browse...

Edited: Jan 18, 6:51am Top

It depends on the series. I like the uniformity of the Patrick O'Brian series and my set of Dickens (II), but equally like it when authors have their books treated differently - eg the Woolfs. However, what I don't like about the Woolfs is the variation in size*. Personally, I'm enjoying the Everyman Classics series more and more, as their books are a perfect reading size, and have, in fact, replaced some Folios with them.

* Actually, I intensely dislike the binding for Orlando as well, but that's a different issue!

Jan 18, 7:41am Top

I like uniformity. Patrick O’Brian are lovely. So is the Loeb Classical Library in respectively either red and green. I’ve also been picking up the new Pan Macmillan series which are small little lovely gems with their cyan colour, sewn binding, and silk bookmark.

Edited: Jan 19, 4:21pm Top

I don't mind differences, but I like there to be common design elements that are reproduced the same way. When they aren't done that way, I notice it every time I look at the books. Notice how on the spine of the Beren and Luthien volume below, the printing is higher than the rest? Drives me crazy.

Related question for you all:

I picked up a copy of The House of Borgia in the sale, to complement my copy of The Rise and Fall of the House of Medici. According to the web site, Borgia was produced in series with Medici, so I was very excited to get this in the sale and complete the set. However, my copy of the Medici appears different than the one that FS is saying the Borgia was produced in series with (see below). From what I can tell this is the first printing of The House of Borgia. I have the third printing of the Medici volume, from 2001. Does anyone know if there was a later printing of Medici that is actually in series with Borgia that I have to go find now?

Picture from FS website of the two volumes in series:

Picture of my volumes (spines):

Picture of my volumes (slipcases):

EDIT: according to a search on AbeBooks, there is a fourth printing of Medici from 2003, but it appears to be the same one I have.

EDIT x2: Per the FSD Wiki, Medici reappeared in May 2015, and per the catalogue, it has a gold colored slipcase like the Borgia volume instead of the patterned one I have (which is a shame, the patterned one is quite nice). But just from the catalogue, I can’t tell if this binding matches the Borgia volume. Can anyone confirm that is the case?

Jan 19, 7:53pm Top

>24 jsg1976: Yes, my 2015 printing looks like the FS picture, with the solid gold label.

Jan 20, 3:54am Top

>24 jsg1976: thanks. Guess I’ve got some hunting to do

Jan 20, 5:22am Top

>24 jsg1976: I have the same problem with the Harry Potter Deluxe Illustrated Editions. On the back of the first book the title and logo of the publisher is higher than on the other three books, but this could be a production error. These books have some serious quality control issues. The first copy of Order of the Phoenix had the title not centered on the spine.

Edited: Jan 20, 6:55am Top

I've a mild preference for a good uniform edition of an author's works when one exists, and a preference too for buying it all at once: much time is saved thereby, probably usually some money if only by way of carriage, and it spells a better chance of all the books being in roughly the same condition. Sets old and new mix well enough on the shelves with assorted single volumes to be tolerable to me.

Not much that's Folio there, just the Horrid Novels and Mrs. Radcliffe sets, plus Ulysses at the end of a mostly LEC row: then the Waverley Novels on the top shelves, and beneath them nearly all the LOA Henry James, an 1828 collected edition of Jeremy Taylor in 15 volumes, Landor in 16, The Spectator in 8, the 13 issues of the Yellow Book and a library-bound set of Cyril Connolly's Horizon.

Folio Dickens I and O'Brian, with Ivy Compton-Burnett above them and the first collected Swinburne above Ivy: odds and ends to their left including the 8 volume Shakespeare Head Plutarch, sharing a shelf with the Folio Montaigne and Anatomy of Melancholy sets. The Folio Trollope is on that wall too. There's little rhyme or reason to it but I generally know where to find what I'm looking for.

Jan 20, 7:46am Top

>28 terebinth: nice shelves! Could I ask what publisher your Waverly novels are from? I have been looking for a set with sewn bindings for a few years

Edited: Jan 20, 11:15am Top

>29 RRCBS:

There are many old editions to choose from, but I had owned The Antiquary in this edition for thirty-odd years and always liked it, so I decided to improve on my former set by buying this one when it came along. It's published by Constable in 48 volumes, reprinted I think but mine date from the mid 1890s. Most of the novels occupy two volumes each, Peveril of the Peak three, the full Magnum Opus introductions and notes are included, and while they're not the most handsome of books they're a nice convenient size for reading and the paper hasn't succumbed to yellowing or (much) foxing. Here's a better view of volumes 45 to 48, followed on the shelf by Scott's Poetical Works in twelve even smaller volumes and Lockhart's Life of Scott in seven.

Jan 20, 6:40pm Top

>30 terebinth:

Nice binding on your Lockhart first edition. Mine's roughly similar but doesn't have the blind tooling.

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