In which I reveal the obsessive side of my nature

This is a longstanding complaint really, but I’ve been reminded of it today by Paperback Reader‘s lovely shelf of beige books.  See those Salman Rushdie books?  This is the source of my displeasure.  Because I like Salman Rushdie quite a lot.  In fact I am thinking it is probably time to read Shalimar the Clown, one of two of Rushdie’s books that I’ve been saving.  I like Salman Rushdie a lot, and I like these editions of his books (link is to The Moor’s Last Sigh, the other of Rushdie’s books I’m saving for myself).  But they don’t have my two favorites in those editions!  And any future books he writes won’t be in those editions!

I prefer my editions to match.  I will go to some trouble to have the proper copies of an author’s work.  For instance, I have all of Hilary McKay’s Casson books, and recently several of them were up on Paperbackswap in hardback.  I do prefer hardback really, but I didn’t buy them because if I had one in hardback, I’d need them all to be in hardback.  Which is inconvenient and unnecessary, and it runs to expense.

BUT I ACTUALLY CANNOT GET Salman Rushdie’s books in matching editions.  IT MAKES ME UNHAPPY.  It doesn’t matter how much I like those editions with those covers.  I can get The Satanic Verses.  I can get Midnight’s Children and even The Moor’s Last Sigh.  But can I get The Ground Beneath Her Feet (my favorite)?  And can I get The Enchantress of Florence (my second favorite but Salman Rushdie needs to write some proper women characters or just leave it alone like Chaim Potok)?  NO I CANNOT.


Please tell me I’m not alone.  Do you like having matching editions?  It’s not just me, right?


21 thoughts on “In which I reveal the obsessive side of my nature

  1. It’s definitely not just you. I’m bitter to this very day that they changed the covers of the Sandman trade paperbacks when I was halfway through collecting them. So I have 1-5 with the older (and if ask me prettier) covers, and the rest with the newer ones. This seriously PAINS me.

    • Which ones are the old covers? The ones with the swatches of color across the top, or the full-page Dave McKean covers? I got mine all at once, when I graduated from high school, which was GLORIOUS. It shows serious restraint on your part not to have replaced your first five. I buy books without thinking, and have to replace them later sometimes, with the appropriate editions. It’s a sickness.

  2. I am so humbled to have an inspired an annoyed post!

    I too am annoyed that my copy of The Enchantress of Florence and Haroun and the Sea of Stories don’t match my other copies but I am resigned that I’m never going to have a matching set. I am also annoyed that Jasper Fforde/his publishers have changed the style of his books too (for the second time) as now those won’t match either. It is the bane of my existence and proof that I have to buy up an entire author’s works at once to prevent it from happening again (although in Rushdie’s case there has never been a uniform collection).

    It definitely is not just you; I love having matching sets of books (check out my silver and white shelf posts).

    • Mm, these comments are so validating. I have most of Elizabeth Peters’ Amelia Peabody mysteries, and some of them are book club editions, which means they’re smaller than the regular editions. Drives me CRAZY. One of these days I’m going to replace them. Even though I know it’s lunacy.

  3. I fear I may be just too greedy to worry myself overly with the question of edition – the wanting is more raw than that, BUT I have huge admiration for the aesthetic taste that motivates such a wish. It must be a special gene, perhaps? One that means you can discern the highest notes in music and recognise a ginormous spectrum of different colours. 🙂

  4. I’m usually happy enough if the format type matches- all hardbacks, or all trade papers. Only if they’re of a series do I want them all to match exactly the same edition- and it must be the one that has the most aesthetic appeal for me, or the best cover images.

    I had to think what you meant by Potook (one of my favorite authors) He did write one with a female main role- Davita’s Harp- but even then it didn’t really address much about women, did it? they were all in the background. I never really gave that thought before.

    • The problem for me is, I’ll get books as they come out, and then a few years later, the publishers will come out with a new set of books by a certain author, with beautiful cover images and nice bindings. I often won’t have even thought about needing matching books by an author until they are suddenly available. Oh, and I can see in my mind how pretty they would all looked nicely lined up…I’m such a sucker.

  5. You know, my covers by various authors are really haphazard and it annoys me. I tell myself until I have a dream library, I don’t need the dream covers.

    I love Rushdie too!!! And Shalimar the Clown is one of my very faves of his (I’ve been saving Fury, The Moor’s Last Sigh, and The Ground Beneath Her Feet)-I have it on audio, and I’ve listened to it at least 6 times.

    • For some reason I’ve been expecting not to care too much for Shalimar the Clown – don’t know why! I thought the same about The Satanic Verses, and ended up really loving it. Fury wasn’t my favorite, though, and I wasn’t in love with Shame either.

  6. I care about matching editions, and have for some time been resisting the desire to buy Forever Rose in the bongsandnoodle hardback to match (for some reason my mind has decided that my paperback Saffy’s Angel that looks nothing like the other books is part of the same edition set as all my pretty hardback other Casson Books, so I don’t need to buy it in matching hardback)

      • um.

        I got Indigo’s Star on paperbackswap when I lost my paperback in the move up here. And I got Permanent Rose in the place in NYC that is a huginormous bookstore, called something beginning with S. Which is also the place where I got Midnight is a Place and got you that copy of Jane Eyre.

  7. I like having matching editions too, and I’m picky about what those editions are. If a series gets rereleased with new covers that I like better, I’ve been known to replace all my old copies with the newer versions!

  8. In a perfect world I would love, love, love to have all matching editions of favorite authors but it’s never going to happen. Although I understand and sympathize with you, I have to control that urge in myself. But, if I suddenly become wealthy….

  9. I like matching editions too, it’s a little obsessive. A few years ago I found British editions of both Northern Lights (The Golden Compass) and The Subtle Knife at Half Priced Books. I didn’t realize they were British, just that the covers were beautiful and matched and I had to have them (even though I had both of those books in mismatched paperbacks). When I realized they were British, I was so annoyed at the thought of having the third book, The Amber Spyglass, not match that I bought a version from the UK Amazon and had it shipped over. That totally negated any savings from buying the first two at half price, but now I have a three set that matches and sits next to my other books and gloats. Sooo, you’re not alone 🙂

  10. Matching editions can be nice to have. And there is a part of my OCD personality that agrees with you. One way to keep the matching demons away is to never buy more than one volume of any particular edition. That way the pattern is lovely randomness instead of 4 of one edition and then one or two in some other(s).

    Or maybe, with the Rushdie you could come up with some logical reason why the two voumes in a different edition are supposed to be in a different edition. Chronology? Theme?

  11. Oh my GOSH I am the same way too! Sorry if this post is a smidge later than the others, but I just discovered your blog a few minutes ago and was catching up.

    I am currently in the middle of getting all of John Bellairs’ book series after I picked one up at the library on a whim and remembered how much I LOVED his books. Now I’m stalking them all on PaperbackSwap, trying to get the same editions I remember reading as a child. You know, the ones with drawings by Edward Gorey? I just got 2 this past week and they have newer covers. Ugh! You know what that means, right? It means that tomorrow after work I’ll stop by the nearest Half Price to scrounge through the kiddie lit section, and when they don’t have what I need, I’ll go on to the next 4 or 5 used bookstores near it, and when there is that one annoying one left that I need to complete, I’ll go Goodwill stalking like a psychopath until I have them all in my hot little OCD hands.

    Anyway… the whole point of this mini-rant is that I have repurchased more books than I care to admit to make sure all my lovely copies match up. And, like Kim said a couple of posts above, I have run into SO MANY great British copies of books I already own that I end up reselling/PBS’ing the American copies and ordering them from Amazon UK instead.

    Thank you, all you wonderful fellow OCD’ers out there, for helping me feel like I’m not the only one!!!

    • Hahaha, there is no such thing as late validation. Validation is always glorious. In all seriousness, though, it’s going to be a terrible mess if I ever have a disposable income. There will be an insane amount of purchasing of matchy matchy copies of books I already own.

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