More on "Modern Library Book Club Editions"
kamins at dogeared.com
Mon Jan 7 23:12:49 EST 2002
A dealer I know who wishes to remain anonymous says that MLs from the
period I dicussed can often be found in DJs without prices on the front
flap. In many cases, there is a contemporary price sticker where the
price would have been printed from major discount chains of the era.
This dealer suggests that dust jackets were prepared for major sales
outlets without a price on them so that the seller could set their own
price. Other than the missing price on the front flap, the books are
always identical in every respect to copies in dust jackets with a price
on the front flap.This matches my own experience with the books.
A great argument the dealer makes is that producing book club editions
would have undercut the whole idea of the ML -- i.e. inexpensive versions
of more expensive books handsomely printed and cloth-bound. Why have an
even cheaper version of a cheap book?
The dealer concludes by pointing out that book club editions for Modern
Library became common in the 90's when the reborn ML decided to trade on
its "modernity," not it's cost-effectiveness, and doesn't blink at
representing perfect-bound books that can barely survive opening without
cracking the spine as "quality," with cover prices to match. It is with
this final point that I most strongly agree - and it's the reason I don't
collect anything im the series beyond 1970.
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