Posted in Reading Books

Two Versions of the Same Book

The inspiration for this post came to me when I was at my local library’s monthly book sale this morning.  I was cruising through the children/teen aisle, which is usually so jam-packed with kids that sometimes I can’t even get into the aisle, but luckily today it was just my daughter and me.  I wasn’t finding anything I really wanted to buy, especially since I was being extra frugal and extra conscious of how many books I already own – books I have to pack up and move 2000 miles with me a month from now.  But something did catch my eye…this:

Now, obviously I already own the first Harry Potter book.  I bought it eleven years ago when I had to read it for one of my college classes (little did I know what it would end up meaning to me).  But the book I bought today…it’s British!  For some reason the American people who published J.K. Rowling’s first book decided to change the word Philosopher to Sorcerer – probably because they assumed American kids would have no idea what the hell a philosopher is and what it had to do with magic.

Philosopher = History = lame.

Sorcerer = MAGIC = awesome.

When my husband and I were in London back in 2003, we were at a children’s book store at Harrods and I thought it would be really cool to get British editions of books I already had, namely Harry Potter books (though at that time only four had been released).  I didn’t end up getting any, though, due to backpack restrictions (as in a backpack is all I brought with me to London).  Instead I bought the British edition of a Series of Unfortunate Events book that I didn’t have, which now looks weird in between all the American editions.

One of these books is not like the other…

I’ve always regretted not buying a Harry Potter book while I was there, though.  It would have been a pretty cool souvenir.  So when I saw it at the library today – even though I was in SoCal instead of London – I grabbed it.  And it was only fifty cents, so…duh.

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s/Sorcerer’s Stone isn’t the only book I have two versions of.  I also have two versions of the Lord of the Rings series.  Actually three versions if you count the all-in-one movie tie-in cover I bought after I saw the first LOTR movie back in 2001, which is now packed away somewhere.  I was working at Brentano’s, a now-closed subsidiary of Borders (ALSO CLOSED) in Sherman Oaks during the 2001 holiday season, and we had a huge LOTR setup in the store because of the movie.  I bought this version:

Soon after that I became obsessed with all things LOTR, and decided I needed a much better version of the books.  I received this next edition for Christmas the following year:

These editions of the books are amazing, beautifully illustrated by Alan Lee, and also weigh about 100 pounds each.  Which makes them difficult to read while curled up in bed.  Plus they’re just so pretty…I didn’t want to ruin them with multiple readings.  So while I was at another library book sale (I’m there a lot), I found these scary things:

For tiny paperbacks, these are about as awesome as you can get.  For one thing, they’re easy to hold while laying in bed.  They’re also easy to stuff into my purse, since I always have to have a book with me where I go (because you never know).  And also, look at the covers!  They really have nothing to do with the story itself, and could probably be the cover of any random fantasy book.  The cover of Fellowship of the Ring, for instance, has salamanders climbing on trees and weird flamingo-looking creatures eating grass, and something that kind of looks like an alligator walking in the bushes.

I don’t remember these characters.

I’m probably not done with my versions of LOTR.  A few years back they released another set of editions that, if I find for really cheap at a library sale, I will probably buy just because I love the covers.  And then of course I’m still on the lookout for the “unauthorized editions” – the paperbacks that Tolkien himself did not authorize to be published.

Good luck finding these!

The other books own two of are my Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle books.  I had the four paperbacks when I was a kid, and I LOVED them.  I still do, actually, and when I saw that I could buy three of them (they left out the fourth one, Mrs. Piggle’s Wiggle’s Farm for some weird reason) in one big hardcover book at Borders for $7.00, I couldn’t pass it up.  But I also couldn’t bear to part with my original paperbacks from my childhood.  So now I have both.

I love it, but it just doesn’t feel the same…

With the exception of these books, I don’t think there’s any other one I’d buy two of.  I would like to have all the Harry Potter books in paperback, just because my hardbacks are becoming “loved”, if you know what I mean, and I’m afraid Prisoner of Azkaban is going to fall apart if I read it one more time.

Paperbacks for reading, hardbacks for looking.

I know I’m not the only one out there…are there any books that you would buy two of?

Happy reading!



I have way too much information floating around in my head, which is why I write things down. I find that books, movies, music, and television are much more interesting than my local news.

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