Tauchnitz Editions


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The ones that got away

Posted by Baronbern on May 1, 2012 at 6:15 PM Comments comments ()

Here’s a challenge. Can you find any significant work of English literature for the period from 1840 to 1940 that was not published as a Tauchnitz Edition, or for the later period, as an Albatross Edition? I can offer two as a starter. Although the Tauchnitz series includes most of George Eliot’s work, the firm did not publish ‘Middlemarch’, which appeared instead in the rival ‘Asher’s’ series. It similarly missed out on R. D. Blackmore’s ‘...

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The earliest Tauchnitz paperbacks

Posted by Baronbern on April 28, 2012 at 4:15 AM Comments comments ()

The early Tauchnitz paperbacks from 1842 are now 170 years old, and naturally few have survived. The earliest paperback copy found by Todd & Bowden in any of the collections they examined, seems to be a copy of volume 12, the last of the series of 5 volumes of Byron’s poetry issued as volumes 8 to 12 of the series. They note that this has a list up to volume 21 (published in October 1842) on the back cover, and conclude that it is a later issue.


My guess is that ...

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How to value a Tauchnitz Edition - Part II

Posted by Baronbern on April 15, 2012 at 10:15 AM Comments comments ()

The first thing to say in Part II of this blog is that Part I was complete nonsense. None of it made any sense because the only thing that determines the value of a second-hand book is supply and demand. A book is only worth what someone else is prepared to pay for it. The unfortunate truth is that there are many old books that almost nobody wants to buy. There are even many old, rare, beautifully bound, and fine condition books that nobody wants to buy; a fact that is profoundly shocking to ...

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How to value a Tauchnitz Edition - Part I

Posted by Baronbern on April 14, 2012 at 4:35 PM Comments comments ()

Here’s one possible way to put a rough value on a Tauchnitz Edition.


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Happy birthday

Posted by Baronbern on February 19, 2012 at 4:45 AM Comments comments ()

The bicentenary of Charles Dickens, born 200 years ago this month, is certainly an occasion to celebrate, and also to remember the remarkable and longstanding relationship he had with Bernhard Tauchnitz. It is not yet Tauchnitz’s own bicentenary; he was not born until 1816, but the two men were roughly the same age and their careers developed over the same period. At the time they signed their initial agreement in 1843, authorising continental publication of Dickens’ work, Tauchni...

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The half life of books

Posted by Baronbern on February 17, 2012 at 9:40 AM Comments comments ()

In a separate blog on my Services Edition site, I recently speculated about whether books have a half-life. In other words, does exponential decay apply to the number of remaining copies of the first printing of a book? If 10,000 copies are printed and after 20 years there are 5,000 left, is it reasonable to expect the number remaining to halve every 20 years? Can we judge what the half-life might be by estimating the nu...

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Shakespeare in 'Shaw' format

Posted by Baronbern on February 15, 2012 at 3:35 PM Comments comments ()

Following on from the discussion below of Bernard Shaw’s plays in Tauchnitz, I’ve recently come across a copy of a Shakespeare play in the Shaw format. Although undated, I assume this is pre-war and the colophon of ‘Printed by Oscar Brandstetter, Leipzig’, suggests not earlier than about 1936. The setting of the text appears to be unaltered from that used by Tauchnitz for several decades, but the 1868 date has finally disappeared from the title page.


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The Brandstetter Students' Series

Posted by Baronbern on April 13, 2011 at 1:05 PM Comments comments ()

The Tauchnitz Students’ Series published in Hamburg from 1948 to 1950, was effectively continued from 1952 onwards by the Brandstetter Verlag in Wiesbaden, with the Tauchnitz name gradually disappearing. Most of the first 12 volumes were reprinted under the Brandstetter imprint, with other new titles also added, up to at least number 20. Most of these cannot be considered as Tauchnitz editions, but Todd & Bowden identify one main students’ series volume and three special volum...

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Selling advertising

Posted by Baronbern on November 27, 2010 at 4:00 AM Comments comments ()

Right from the start, Tauchnitz books carried advertising for other Tauchnitz books, on the covers as well as sometimes on internal pages. Later on, catalogues of various kinds were inserted, as well as advertising bookmarks and leaflets, and then separate free catalogues produced that were almost the size of the books themselves. So Tauchnitz were well aware of the value of advertising and marketing. But they almost never carried any advertising for companies other than themselves.


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Setting the record straight on Albatross

Posted by Baronbern on October 31, 2010 at 6:20 PM Comments comments ()

For much of the first 70 years of their existence, Tauchnitz were the dominant producer of English language books in Continental Europe. There were many other publishers who tried to break their dominance, but few had much success really until the First World War. The more or less enforced absence of Tauchnitz from the market for 4 years then allowed at least two other series to flourish briefly, but neither lasted for long after the war. So the rise of Albatross in the 1930s and its success ...

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