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Bookaphiles (or everyone on this board): How do you know which version of a book to


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buy? Penguin, Puffin, Dover,etc. I do not know the differences and just want the straight-up book, as written by the author! I am on Amazon, trying to make a purchase, and there are a zillion options. Can someone please educate me on this and tell me which publication is usually the most reliable?

 

thanks.

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buy? Penguin, Puffin, Dover,etc. I do not know the differences and just want the straight-up book, as written by the author! I am on Amazon, trying to make a purchase, and there are a zillion options. Can someone please educate me on this and tell me which publication is usually the most reliable?

 

thanks.

 

Unless it's a translation or abridge it shouldn't really make much difference. Many classic novels have commentary in them which can be helpful or not depending on who wrote the commentary. I don't think one publishing house is inherently more reliable than another.

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Whichever one is cheapest! :D

 

There's not a ton of difference. Penguin and Oxford put lots of notes in front and sometimes footnotes in back (esp. Oxford). If you're looking at Dover Thrift Editions (I love those!), it will be the text and only the text. If it's a work that had to be translated, it will be a translation that is out of copyright and about 90 years old, whereas Penguin has modern translations, though usually by someone you've never heard of.

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buy? Penguin, Puffin, Dover,etc. I do not know the differences and just want the straight-up book, as written by the author! I am on Amazon, trying to make a purchase, and there are a zillion options. Can someone please educate me on this and tell me which publication is usually the most reliable?

 

thanks.

 

 

If you are talking about translations from books originally written in another language then that is something I take time out to investigate on a book by book basis. It's more of an issue of the individual translator than the publishing company. There are some good online articles/discussions about the sausage mill that produces some of the reprints but I don't have a URL to give you.

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If you don't mean translations, as others have mentioned, there are two basic things that I avoid. Dover, because I don't like the feel of the paper they use, and movie covers from any publisher. I don't know why the latter bothers me so much, but I despise them.

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I often will go to store to peruse inside the book, then go home and order online. I look at font size and compare publishers in the store. I just finished two books published by Aladdin. They were unabridged with a decent font. The only thing is the bindings aren't as quality as I'd like. I'm anal about my books, I like them to look brand new after I've finished them.

 

For translated books I read a lot of Amazon reviews and will google often times. Be careful when reading reviews at Amazon, a lot of times they are tied to a title not a specific ISBN. I ran into that recently while looking for the best translation of Don Quixote.

 

I happen to like Barnes & Noble Classics as well. That's another option to look into.

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If you don't mean translations, as others have mentioned, there are two basic things that I avoid. Dover, because I don't like the feel of the paper they use, and movie covers from any publisher. I don't know why the latter bothers me so much, but I despise them.

 

I agree! My favorite books editions are nice ex-library hardbacks. They tend to have good paper and the type is usually not set too small or close together. I used to work with typefaces for a living and have distinct preferences for certain types that are easier for me to read.

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I usually read the worst reviews of an edition to see if there's a good reason not to buy the book. The best reviews won't tell you anything, but the 1-star ones will often say "great book, don't buy this edition because the footnotes are too intrusive" or something like that.

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Size matters. :D

 

If possible, I buy the wider paperbacks. Amazon is good about putting the book's dimensions in the Product Detail section.

 

I despise trying to hold open the narrow paperbacks without cracking their spines!

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