Judging A Book

Judging A Book By Its Cover: The Hobbit, Etc. (VI)

This is my weekly post where I highlight and appreciate cover designs and the general physical appearance of books. We all judge book covers to some extent. I can’t say that I’ve ever decided against a book with terrible cover art if I liked the sound of the plot, but I have purchased special editions of books, or multiple editions of books based on their cover art. If book covers didn’t matter, publishers wouldn’t put out so many beautiful editions!

These vintage beauties are 1965 editions put out by Ballantine Books and are apparently the only editions “authorized” by Tolkien. They even have a wonderful seal of approval stamped all over their crazy colorful covers. These covers are on crack and I love them. No illustrations, sadly, though the Tolkien Reader does have a few.

3 thoughts on “Judging A Book By Its Cover: The Hobbit, Etc. (VI)”

  1. Yes, these are fabulous covers. The art is by Barbara Remington. The issue with being “authorized” by Tolkien was not about the covers specifically, but there was some copyright loophole that didn’t transfer to the U.S. effectively so there was an unauthorized edition of the LOTR published and sold in the U.S. that Tolkien received no royalties for. So, he made an appeal to readers/fans…to only buy from his authorized U.S. publisher Houghten Mifflen. Played out in the courts for a few years, I think Tolkien eventually got some compensation, and stopped the unauthorized publication. Anyway, again great cover art. I used to have a huge poster of the mural that is formed by the trilogy covers put together. The poster is now worth about $5000, but alas I didn’t take good care of it as a child and it was lost. I also highlighted these covers in a recent blogpost: http://100greatestnovelsofalltimequest.blogspot.com/2016/03/happy-anniversary-to-classics-club.html


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