Tuesday, December 16, 2008

In Search of Middle Earth

Today HarperCollins launched www.tolkien.co.uk and the official J.R.R. Tolkien online bookstore which brings together for the first time all of the books published by him. Here you can buy exclusive signed and limited editions of Tolkien's books.

With exclusive titles such as Tales from the Perilous Realm at £60 and The Children of Hurin at £350 one would expect more than a mean jacket and short blurb. The site may be a must visits for all Tolkien addicts but it some how looks dry short of fizz and doesn’t even offer a look inside these exclusive editions. Some would suggest that here the publisher ahs the opportunity to create and nurture a community based on a clear common interest. One would expect video clips, detail biography notes on the author and the ability for fans to participate and build a community.

Alan Lee, the illustrator that brought so much to life is conspicuous by his absence and one would expect some of his illustrations to be available to view.

The most interesting experience was clicking on the hobbit to go straight to a map of middle earth or try to work out what ‘ The LORT’ was about.

Major publishers such as HarperCollins can always command trade coverage and press for every turn but is this example of good practice? Some may say an opportunity lost others that perhaps this demonstrates the gap between publishing and retail.

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