An Illustrated Tolkien Bibliography

The History of Middle-earth
Print Run Sizes
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Publishing The Lord of the Rings
The First Impression of RotK
VI  The First Boxed Edition
VII  The Readers Union Edition
VIII  The First Deluxe Edition
IX  Printing and Binding LotR
XIV  LotR: A Bibliography
XV  LotR: A Bibliography of Slipcases

The History of Middle-earth series
A Guide to the Contents
II  Prices on Dustwrappers
III  Original Retail Prices
IV  Print Run Sizes
The Guild Publishing Editions
VI  Shaping of Middle-earth Wrapper
VII  Peoples of Middle-earth Pulped?

Other Articles
Christopher Tolkien Bibliography
I Think I've Got A Hobbit
Missing Images
Nasty Tricksy Hobbits
Printing and Binding The Hobbit
Songs for the Philologists
The Princess Hobbit
-- Ferguson Dewar
-- Letter from J. R. R. Tolkien
-- Gandalf: Not 'Magician' but 'Wizard'
-- Visions of Gollum
-- Of Smaug and the Jabberwock
-- Magazine Gallery
Tolkien Calendars
Tolkien the Esperantist?
Tolkien's Languages and Alphabets
Unpublished Manuscript Found?

Relatively little is known about the size of print runs for most editions of books in The History of Middle-earth.  The information presented below gives the print run sizes for the first impression of a variety of editions.  The figures given for the first nine volumes are taken from J.R.R. Tolkien: A Descriptive Bibliography by Wayne G. Hammond ("Hammond"), while those for the final three volumes have been supplied by HarperCollins.

Title Edition Year Publisher No. of Copies Comments
The Book of
Lost Tales 1
1st Edition 1983 George Allen & Unwin 5,000  
1st PB Edition 1985 Unwin Paperbacks 25,000  
BCA Edition 1986 Guild Publishing 1,000? Hammond gives year as 1983
The Book of
Lost Tales 2
1st Edition 1984 George Allen & Unwin 7,500?  
1st PB Edition 1986 Unwin Paperbacks 25,000  
BCA Edition 1986 Guild Publishing 1,000 Hammond gives year as 1984
The Lays of Beleriand 1st Edition 1985 George Allen & Unwin 6,000  
BCA Edition 1986 Guild Publishing 2,000  
1st PB Edition 1987 Unwin Paperbacks 24,000 Plus 6,000 copies for Methuen
The Shaping of
1st Edition 1986 George Allen & Unwin 6,000 Three variants of the dustwrapper
Library Edition 1986 George Allen & Unwin 150 Bound by Cedric Chivers of Bath
BCA Edition 1986 Guild Publishing 4,000  
1st PB Edition 1988 Unwin Paperbacks 20,000  
The Lost
1st Edition 1987 Unwin Hyman 6,000  
Library Edition 1987 Unwin Hyman 150 Bound by Cedric Chivers of Bath
BCA Edition 1987 Guild Publishing 2,500 Hammond gives year as 1985 - a typo?
1st PB Edition 1989 Unwin Paperbacks 15,000  
The Return of
the Shadow
1st Edition 1988 Unwin Hyman 5,000  
Library Edition 1988 Unwin Hyman 120 Bound by Cedric Chivers of Bath
1st PB Edition 1990 Unwin Paperbacks 25,000  
The Treason
of Isengard
1st Edition 1989 Unwin Hyman 5,000 Plus 3,000 unpriced copies for BCA
1st PB Edition 1992 Grafton ?  
The War of
the Ring
1st Edition 1990 Unwin Hyman 4,000 Plus 3,500 unpriced copies for BCA
Library Edition 1990 Unwin Hyman 100 Bound by Morley Books of Leeds
1st PB Edition 1992 Grafton ?  
1st Edition 1992 HarperCollins 3,000 Plus 2,000 unpriced copies for BCA
1st PB Edition 1993 HarperCollins ?  
1st Edition 1993 HarperCollins 4,500 Plus 1,500 unpriced copies for BCA*
1st PB Edition 1994 HarperCollins ?  
The War of
the Jewels
1st Edition 1994 HarperCollins 3,000 Plus 1,500 unpriced copies for BCA**
1st PB Edition 1995 HarperCollins ?  
The Peoples of
1st Edition 1996 HarperCollins 2,500 Plus 1,500 unpriced copies for BCA***
1st PB Edition 1997 HarperCollins ?  

* BCA subsequently called off 2,200 additional copies from the HarperCollins trade edition. HarperCollins afterwards produced a small reprint of 500 copies.

** Two additional lots of 200 copies from the trade edition were sold to BCA.

*** BCA sold their copies very quickly and then bought 500 copies from the trade edition.


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