Monday, November 10, 2014

The Brothers Grimm, Princeton University Press Edition Does Not Impress


The Original Folk and Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm:The Complete First EditionJacob & Wilhelm Grimm, Translated and edited by Jack ZipesIllustrated by Andrea Dezsö

Last week I stumbled upon yet another new illustrated edition and new English translation of the Grimm tales.  I have an interest in the Brothers Grimm in line with my love of world tales and their origins, the number of interesting new illustrated editions that have appeared over the past few years and that dear friends are blood relations to the Brothers.  I immediately ordered the new edition published by Princeton University Press, linked above.

I was originally interested in the promise of the new edition, a complete and new English translation of the actual First Edition of the Grimm tales.  This first edition was where the tales are recorded for posterity and not edited for children, their parents, or to satisfy some newly minted social custom.  The real stories as collected, unvarnished, for my reading pleasure.  I happily clicked to buy and started writing a blog post that would list my favorite edition of the Brothers Grimm and how they all differ to find the one that is right for you.

Just now, the new edition from Princeton University Press arrived and I can honestly state that Princeton University Press should be embarrassed by this terrible effort to publish a new edition of the Grimm tales.  The paper is terrible, the font is terrible, the printing of the illustrations is terrible.  If not for the content, I would simply return this edition.  It is a terrible edition from a fine book perspective.  It is not a fine edition at all and really seems to be an example of the worst production decisions from paper choice, color choice, font choice.... Only those interested in the actual First Edition of the Brothers Grimm in English translation needs this new edition.  Since that market must be extremely small, it appears no surprise why Princeton decided that there was NO REASON TO INVEST ANY MONEY IN THIS PUBLICATION.

Perhaps Princeton University Press is unaware that print book publishing is under stress from digital outlets and that digital only publishing will bankrupt most traditional publishing houses.  The economics of book publishing does not translate at this time to eliminating print and moving to all digital.  The ONE bright spot that publishers are embracing is that a print product will sell if it is well done and creates a physical artifact that someone would choose to save and display as a piece of art.  This new edition of Princeton University Press may have interesting content but the artifact is a complete insult to the organic matter that was pulped to make the paper it was printed on.

I often forgive many features of the book world, I am a book junkie!  However, in this case, I am not going to forgive anything.  The color of the thumbnail cover of the book that appears above is from the Princeton University Press website.  The actual color of the cover is BLACK, not Purple.  Again, do not buy this book if you are interested in an edition of the Grimm tales that you will enjoy owning.  I'll keep my copy to remind me of this example of publishing self-destruction but wish I had simply bought the e-book to read.

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