I got my Tartarus Press hardcover edition of The Doll Maker and Other Tales of the Uncanny [original review of The Doll Maker here] by Sarban today! There’s my poor little paperback on the left and my new Tartarus version [ordered at the middle of the month] on the right. Incidentally, it is the not the original 200-copy 1999 Tartarus reissue, but a 2002 reprint, without the limited edition afterword.
My Tartarus edition is really of high quality. It comes with a ribbon bookmark sewn into the spine — that’s how you can tell it’s classy! :p
No seriously… When i first learned about The Doll Maker and wished to read it, I bought the cheapest copy I could find: the paperback edition on the left. At its completion, I loved the story so much that I sought a more durable edition, which I found in The Sarban Omnibus. Said omnibus, however, proved to be a cesspool of poor layout, larded with distracting typos. Choosing accuracy over sturdiness, I pitched the omnibus and retained the paperback, fearing to worsen its debilitated state by actually using it for its intended purpose.
I therefore rejoiced upon learning of the Tartarus edition. Its thick, stiff paper and clear lithography remind me of expensive invitations. As I was assured by US dealers of Tartarus books, the press makes books that are not only gorgeous, but scrupulously edited as well. That is, the text of The Doll Maker reproduces the original, without any of the mistakes that so enraged me about the omnibus. I haven’t compared my paperback and my hardcover line by line to verify accuracy, but I have glimpsed within the Tartarus edition’s pages and seen a welcoming, old-fashioned font, surrounded by generous margins. This book was obviously made by people who care about the outsides and insides of books.
I had a great experience with Tartarus Press. I saw on several Web sites that The Doll Maker etc. was out of print and commanding the usual exorbitant secondary market rates. After going on the Tartarus site and seeing The Doll Maker etc. advertised as in print and available [for $50.00 shipped!!], I E-mailed them for clarification. Ray Russell [owner?] wrote back, confirming the book’s availability and price. I ordered the book, then asked him if it came with a slip cover and, if not, how I should protect the dust jacket. [I know about clear Mylar covers, but was wondering if he had special recommendations.] He recommended Mylar and even put some on my copy when he mailed it out! Wonderful service! Having conversations with owners or artists about our shared interests always makes me enjoy whatever I’m buying or bartering more, as I feel that we are not just conducting business, but also enjoying a common passion.