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Limited Editions: Their Reasons for Being

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    Limited Editions: Their Reasons for Being

    Like a lot of you, I'm a huge fan of the limited edition. I don't necessarily think of myself as a collector (other than of the CD Signature Series) because I read every single limited edition that I purchase. However, neither do I consider myself to be a casual reader of these finely produced books. I fall somewhere between these two categories. Perhaps I'll call myself an Admirer.

    With that in mind, I've recently contemplated why limited editions exist. Well, for several reasons as we all know:

    1. For true collectors
    2. For horror enthusiasts
    3. To bring some awesome books back into print
    4. To create a special version of certain books that have become significant to horror over the years
    5. To generate excitement and something of value for those lucky enough to have purchased a world's first edition of a book by a big name author in the field
    6. For aesthetic purposes
    7. And, damn it, because the spectacular limited edition publishers are helping to keep these extraordinary physical treasures alive; there's nothing like holding a Ray Garton limited edition novel (for example), opening up the cover to the signature sheet, and then immersing oneself in the rich prose that follows on actual pages that the reader has to flip.

    I'm sure there are plenty of other reasons as well. Feel free to share your thoughts and reactions. I'm eager to learn what other people think about this topic.
    "Do or do not. There is no try." - Yoda

    #2
    In my mind a small press / limited edition publisher (usually one in the same) also exist to give beginning writers a shot to get published. It is also an outlet for genre's / sub genre's that don't necessarily fit into what the mass market publishers see as "sell-able".
    CD Email: danhocker@cemeterydance.com

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      #3
      I think they also fill in the gap by publishing great authors that may not quite sell the numbers for acceptance by a large New York publishing house. This gap would include authors who write outside of the "least common denominator" kind of writing. So much of what is published by big publishing houses these days is the same story time after time and they are written, in my mind, for less discerning audience who are happy to read the "same" story over and over again under a different title. It seems like once an author has a hit with a book, those big NY publishers want them to just write the same book over and over. Very sad for the readers.

      I am very grateful that specialty presses exist, not just for the quality of the production values, but because they publish different stories and hard to get authors!!! Long live the specialty presses!!!

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        #4
        In addition to the reasons above, i also like them because the quality is usually far better than a mass-produced book. The binding is better, there's a better grade of paper, etc. I have some old books from the '50s that look as if they were printed on tobacco leaves.

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          #5
          Originally posted by HorrorScribe View Post
          Like a lot of you, I'm a huge fan of the limited edition. I don't necessarily think of myself as a collector (other than of the CD Signature Series) because I read every single limited edition that I purchase.
          Oh, I do as well and I do consider myself a collctor. I feel limited editions should be read, not put away unopened and sold at a profit (hopefully) sometime later.
          My best reading experiences have been reading my limiteds (Dark Tower!!).

          sk

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            #6
            Excellent points, all of them. And I concur that the NY publishing firms churn out drivel and derivative books. Since discovering the specialty press in 2003 (Cemetery Dance, in fact) via researching some Leisure Books authors, I've become addicted to and appreciative of the specialty press output. My ultimate goal is to someday purchase a traycased lettered edition. Talk about a worthy addition to a limited edition collection... It's come down to a matter of opportunity, money, and finding the right book by the right author.
            "Do or do not. There is no try." - Yoda

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              #7
              Originally posted by frik51 View Post
              Oh, I do as well and I do consider myself a collctor. I feel limited editions should be read, not put away unopened and sold at a profit (hopefully) sometime later.
              My best reading experiences have been reading my limiteds (Dark Tower!!).

              sk
              Thumbs way up for reading limited editions! There is almost no better feeling then picking up and reading a well done limited.
              Looking for the fonting of youth.

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                #8
                Originally posted by copefiend2 View Post
                Thumbs way up for reading limited editions! There is almost no better feeling then picking up and reading a well done limited.
                Agree completely. The production values are much better and it just feels much nicer holding and reading a limited edition
                WARNING!!! WARNING!!! DO NOT VIEW THIS SPOILER! YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!!!
                Spoiler!

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                  #9
                  For me, any "limited edition" should represent the archival-quality version of any particular book, particularly if it's a lettered printing. In essence, the pinnacle of that book's presentation to the collecting public. I realize that may not sync with many here, but for me the notion seems obvious given the much higher prices demanded for limiteds versus their trade counterparts, ESPECIALLY when discussing lettered or other uber-deluxe printings.

                  Regarding point #2, I've never understood horror's dominance in the limited edition "scene". I think it's a shame other genres, like SF and suspense, are woefully under-represented. It seems that, whenever a small press begins their publishing endeavours, it's always geared towards horror, even though there's already fierce competition in that genre from other, more established companies. I'd personally like to see a press devoted to SF and/or fantasy much like Cemetery Dance, Gauntlet, and Bloodletting concentrate almost solely on horror titles. It would thrill me to no end if CD announced a line of non-horror fiction which would contain the same production values as their horror offerings (but I know that's not CD's bailiwick nor target audience).
                  The angry book collector.
                  www.awfulbooks.com

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                    #10
                    Originally posted by fleggett View Post
                    I've never understood horror's dominance in the limited edition "scene". I think it's a shame other genres, like SF and suspense, are woefully under-represented. I'd personally like to see a press devoted to SF and/or fantasy much like Cemetery Dance, Gauntlet, and Bloodletting concentrate almost solely on horror titles.
                    I totally agree. I'd love, for instance, a limited set of the Dune books, or Asimov's Foundation series - or his Robot novels.
                    Or Clarke's Rama books!
                    The possibilities are endless.

                    sk
                    Last edited by frik51; 06-04-2011, 09:56 PM.

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                      #11
                      I think part of the problem is the Sci-Fi fantasy genre, are deemed much more "marketable" in the NY publisher's eyes, so they are not a likely to give up the rights to those books as they are a lot of the horror genre books.
                      CD Email: danhocker@cemeterydance.com

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                        #12
                        I really don't see how reading your S/L's makes yo any less of a collector. I read mine, when I can. Perhaps your confusing collector with investor.

                        If you want to get a Lettered edition make sure you watch CD's emails. In the past they have had grab bags that have included lettered editions. You wont have a choice in what you get but it's a great way to expand your collection (or non collection) at a low price.
                        Rich DeMars

                        Imagination is more important than knowledge.
                        Albert Einstein

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                          #13
                          Originally posted by Tree705 View Post
                          I really don't see how reading your S/L's makes yo any less of a collector. I read mine, when I can. Perhaps your confusing collector with investor.
                          It doesn't make you any less of a collector (or investor). It just makes you crazy looney-tunes insane.

                          (j/k!)

                          Regarding CD's lettered editions, I've never bought a grab bag, but you're right, they do sometimes throw in letters with those. However, you might wind-up with something for which you don't particularly care. I personally take advantage of the promo codes that Mindy occasionally sends out. Some of those have been up to 50% off. There's one posted on the website right now that's a 25% off promo (I verified yesterday that it still works). I was sorely tempted to get that Gaiman book....
                          The angry book collector.
                          www.awfulbooks.com

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                            #14
                            Originally posted by frik51 View Post
                            I totally agree. I'd love, for instance, a limited set of the Dune books, or Asimov's Foundation series - or his Robot novel.
                            Or Clarke's Rama books!
                            The possibilities are endless.
                            Yeah, it would be terrific if a new publisher entered the scene for the express purpose of publishing SF, fantasy, and suspense (non-horror) material. I keep waiting (and hoping). I know Centipede (God bless 'em) has published some SF, but Jerad primarily concentrates on horror. And SubPress does some SF and fantasy, but I don't buy their books for various reasons. I only learned last night that Elastic Press closed their doors in 2008 when I was researching their hardcovers (yeah, I'm behind the times).

                            Regarding Asimov, the late, great Phantasia Press published his Foundation/Robots series in both numbered and lettered form. Easton Press has done a quasi-limited of Dune (the first book) and Putnam has done true limiteds of some of the sequel books. Easton has also published Rama and several other Clarke titles. SF limiteds are "out there", but they're rather scattershot or their parent publishers have since gone under, driving the secondary market price through the roof (e.g., Phantasia Asimov letters aren't sold for any less than several thousand dollars).
                            Last edited by fleggett; 06-04-2011, 11:13 PM.
                            The angry book collector.
                            www.awfulbooks.com

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                              #15
                              Thanks for the information.
                              These Phantasia lettereds sound like my next quest.

                              sk

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