A new trend I'm starting today is "Tolkien Tuesday", where each Tuesday I will do a Tolkien related post. For the next bit, I'll do a sort of 'review' of the books I own, as well as the edition etc.
So, naturally, first up is The Hobbit, published by Harper Collins in 2007 for the 70th anniversary in hardback; with the ISBN of 9780261103283.
The dustjacet cover is by Tolkien himself, and has been on editions ever since it was initially published. It has a paper-y / matte feeling to it. Removing the dustjacket, the book itself is black, with copper / brass engraving of the 'Tolkien Logo' as well as the title on the spine. When you open the book at either end, you are treated to a map. The front end has Thror's Map, and the back end has Wilderland. It is on brown-ish paper this time, and looks quite nice. There is also bit of color here and there as well.
The text includes a preface by Christopher Tolkien, as well as a Note on the Text. Then, the story, which needs no mention here. The text is the most up to date and accurate that there is. With future editions, I am not sure how much better it can get. The book is also illustrated by Tolkien - featuring both black and white and colour artwork throughout. New to this edition is the Mirkwood piece included in the book for the first time [as well as the deluxe edition].
And really, that's all I can say about this edition. It's pretty 'basic' in regards to what makes it special, but provides the ultimate version of the text, cover artwork by Tolkien, as well interior art.
Why did I get it: It's The Hobbit in hardback. Part of a 'matching set' (it sits quite well on my shelf with my other Tolkien books - more on those in the future). Also, it's the most 'authentic' version there is. Now, there's a also deluxe version by Harper Collins which features the same contents, but is slipcased and the book itself is also quite nice.
Who would I recommend this edition to: anyone who wants a matching set of Tolkien books, the most up to date version of The Hobbit there is (without paying the price of a deluxe edition, of course), those who are 'revamping' their Tolkien collection, and finally, those looking for a nice edition of The Hobbit, in all areas ,to begin their interest in Tolkien books as well as their own collection.
"Should I wait for a better one?": Well, I'm not sure how much better of a hardback edition of The Hobbit there can be. Next year, it turns 80. At this point, who knows what Harper Collins has up their sleeve for the occasion? Also, if you wait too long, this edition could very well go out of print. ( I suggest your national bookstore, the official Tolkien store (tolkien.co.uk), amazon.(your country here) or bookdepository.
Overall: I quite like this edition. I will have it for the rest of my life, most likely (as well as my other Tolkien books). It looks quite nice on its own, is a great 'all around' edition, and matches quite well with other works by the author.
[Another 'related' book that goes quite nicely with this that I own also: The Art of the Hobbit]