Friday, October 4, 2019

Grim Oak Press is going to publish limited editions of the five books of The Belgariad in hardcover next year and they're taking preorders.

The folks over at Grim Oak Press are putting out a limited edition hardback set of the individual five books that make up The Belgariad. They released the cover of the first book, and I've attached it below. It's by artist Allen Morris.
Do I like the artwork? Not really, but whatever. Maybe it will grow on me. The problem is that I'm so old that I remember when the "young adult" genre didn't exist and Eddings (who is now dead R.I.P.) was considered high fantasy. As soon as things became "young adult" then the covers switched to cartoons (or cartoon-like) drawings. The above looks like a screenshot from World of Warcraft (and anyone that plays WoW will tell you it looks cartoony). Also, Garion in that picture has a fat face...I've never pictured him like that. I'm on board with the drawing of Polgara and Belgarath in the back. I just wish there was more to this picture than three people standing on a farm that's clearly in Sendaria. Another thing this cover smacks of? Magic: the Gathering. It reminds me of artwork I see on Magic cards. I guess I was expecting Michael Whelan, and I didn't get that. I wanted to feel something epic from the painting.

At right is another cover from the UK edition of Pawn of Prophecy that was put out many years ago. You can see what I'm talking about, with the cartoon writing of the words "The Belgariad" and the cartoony sword. So looks like Grim Oak Press is going to continue this trend. Ah well. Who am I to question the categorization of why something is clearly written for children and another thing is clearly not? I'm nobody, that's who.

I still bought the five books and ordered a nice slipcase. All around, it set me back about $400 on pre-order. Why would I spend this kind of money?

Well (quite frankly) I've been looking for hardcover editions of The Belgariad for a really long time now. All you can easily find are the paperbacks and the omnibus editions (volume one has books 1-3 and volume two has books 4-5). And I'm not a fan of omnibus editions now that I own a house and have nice bookshelves. So yeah, you could say I've become a snobby book collector. But I don't care. I like my books and I like my snobbery, so there.

About a decade ago, another fine publisher called Easton Press (I think) put out limited edition hardbound and leather-bound copies of The Belgariad. Those are extremely rare and expensive to get. I saw them once on Ebay on sale for around $4,000. That's waaaaayyy beyond anything I will EVER get to afford. So picking up these five hardcovers seems like a way to check off a book I've wanted to collect from a list I've carried around for years.

And I still have one other concern: the newsletter mailed out to all of us that participated (thus far) in the preorder says they are looking for beta readers to look for errors in the original word processing text files for these books. In their words (more or less) they said, "these files are so old that they didn't update to modern software well." That made me shake my head. I'm not going to volunteer my time to sift through books I remember very fondly looking for errors, and I bet the people they do find will not be qualified to do so. You get what you pay for, right? So expectations on these hardcovers is plummeting with every update to the Grim Oak Press website.

However!...and silver lining as it were...the books I have seen from Grim Oak Press have been extremely high in quality. The stitching is perfect, the font is laser sharp, the paper is absolutely beautiful, and the interior illustrations have been incredible. So there is that. Maybe I just need to readjust my attitude and have faith that these books will ultimately be spectacular and make me smile in pleasure every time I see them (once they are on my shelves).

Anyone else intrigued out there? Andrew, I know you are/were a fan of The Belgariad. Are you picking up the five books for your collection? These are pretty rare things to come across, just saying.


  1. No way I'd ever pay that much for a book, not even a signed first edition. When you say "cartoony" I think of something that looks like Peanuts or Spongebob Squarepants. The font of the UK one seems to be trying to invoke Harry Potter, which was probably the idea.

    Anyway about the only trophies I can afford these days are action figures I get from clearance bins for $5. lol

  2. It used to be in publishing that putting out a fine book meant high standards for paper, print, artwork - you name it. I hope your editions are up to snuff and look fabulous on your shelves.

    Ironically, I've lately found myself fondly reading old, cheap paperbacks of thrillers and other books, which if well written really stand up to the test of time.

  3. If you have the money and they'll make you happy, there's no reason anyone should say anything against it. I hope the books make a great addition to your collection.

  4. Nah, I'm not picking these up. I have no interest in shelling out a bunch of money on a hardcover that isn't a first edition.
    And that cover is boring.
    But I have been wanting to read these again...