The majority of our Folio Society books are first editions (or rather, first printing for the Folio Society), but you'll also find one or two reprints and later editions -
We tend to focus on editions printed post 2000. In our view that year saw a significant increase in both the quality of the books, as well as of the illustrators.
The majority of our Folio Society books are first editions, but you'll also find one or two reprints and later editions. The edition is always specified in the book description, together with condition. "Condition: Fine" means without discernible fault. We tend to focus on editions printed post 2000. In our view that year saw a significant increase in both the quality of the books, as well as of the illustrators.
If you enjoy collecting Folio Society books then you may like Inky Parrot Press books - Denis Hall, the founder studied at the Royal Academy of Arts and he built up a cohort of some of the leading illustrators of the day. You can find out more about Denis and the Inky Parrot Press here - or take a look directly at the books here
Why Collect Folio Society Books?
The Folio Society was founded in 1947 with similar principles as those of The Golden Cockerel Press, although catering to different markets. Those principles were, and still are, the art of the book. The focus was quite different to that of the, by then, well established mass market publishers. It was built on production values that would result in books that were of value in themselves, not just for the excellence of the written content. This included not just the quality of the paper and the bindings, but the illustrators commissioned too.
Given that one of the founding directors was Christopher Sandford who led The Golden Cockerel Press from 1933 to 1959, this focus on the quality of the book itself can come as no surprise. However, the key difference was that The Folio Society wanted to produce books that were accessible to all and this was quite different to the rarefied heights of the prices of The Golden Cockerel Press. Consequently they needed to strike a balance between mass production whilst using as excellent quality paper and bindings as they could afford.
In our view The Folio Society's adherence to those early founding principles has wavered a little at times in the 20th century. The 21st century, however, has seen a return to their core values, not just in terms of production but with regard to commissioning leading illustrators of the day for example, Paula Rego, Quentin Blake, Dave Mckean to name a tiny handful.Not only that, but The Folio Society has collaborated with some of the pre-eminent book binders of the day, for example with Ludlow Bookbinders on Shackleton Aurora Australis. (It's definitely worth taking a look at the video on the production here).
The range of books published by The Folio Society varies enormously. In fact, you would be hard pressed to find a genre that hasn't been covered by them. From travel to fairy tales to thrillers, science fiction, fiction, classics, poetry and plays... the list goes on. Here are just a few of what we consider to be the highlights:
- Andrew Lang's Fairy Books: collected by and for adults as well as for children. Andrew Lang was a writer who, with his wife, Leonora Blanche Alleyne, created a collection of fairy stories from around the world. They were published between 1889 and 2013. The coloured series of 12 fairy tale books was and is their best known collection and it's this that The Folio Society have reproduced.
- The Lord of the Rings by J R R Tolkien: given our enthusiasm for the Folio Society books published in the 21st century it will come as no surprise that it's the set published in 2022 and illustrated by Alan Lee that we recommend.
- Frederick Forsyth - The Day of the Jackal - with an introduction by Ken Follett. Illustrated by Tatsuro Kiuchi.
The Folio Society has a strong fan base, and in our opinion deservedly so, with even their lower priced books demonstrating their commitment to quality production materials and excellent illustrators. At the higher end of the scale for their limited editions Folio Society books can soar quickly in value to as much as £20,000. Generally, this will be for collections for example The Letterpress Shakespeare and most often for books produced in the 21st century. You'll find a wide range on our website, of course depending on what we have in stock.