Saturday, February 11, 2012

TIK-TOK Trash-Talk

Sal-u-ta-tions - I am Tik-Tok. I am ve-ry dis-ap-point-ed in the ter-ri-ble new ed-i-tion of my book pub-lished by the Brad-ford Ex-change.

It is an ug-ly, in-ac-cur-ate, and pre-pos-ter-ous mess. This book has put a cramp in my clock-work, so I will turn this post-ing ov-er to Da-vid, if you please.

Geez, Tik-Tok . . . making me do all the dirty work. Sigh, I'll begin with a few kind words first, if you don't mind.

I'd been all set to write a blog generally praising the Bradford edition of The Emerald City of Oz. For that book they generally did a very nice job (for the first time in their series). The printing of the line art is much better, the color plates are better, and for once there were no serious or even substantive problems to mention. It was certainly the nicest Emerald City published since the first edition.

The only minor quibble I take with the BE Emerald City is that they left the green metallic ink off of the front cover label - choosing to print it in a pea-soup green. It's not terrible - just inaccurate. On the whole it's a nice book.

Then Patchwork Girl arrived and it was back to mediocrity. The cloth color is a sickly and very wrong anti-freeze green. The printing of the color illustrations is better than in Ozma of Oz, but a number of pictures were completely recolored in Photoshop. This dampened my enthusiasm for writing any more blogs on these books.

But then, yesterday, Tik-Tok of Oz arrived. And it is so ghastly that a blog is in order. Many of the pages of text are so lightly printed they might as well have used pale gray ink. It's just heinous printing, with no oversight at the press whatsoever. Any decent printer should have thrown printing like this in the garbage. Below is a side by side example of a properly printed page from a first edition and a page of the gray BE version. You can hardly even read the page number on the BE version.

First edition at left - Bradford at right. CLICK TO ENLARGE

Worse than this crappy printing is the crappier reproduction. Compare the details in this image of Betsy Bobbin from page 59. Do I even need to explain how ridiculously terrible the BE version is? This quality of reproduction is typical throughout the book.

First edition at left - Bradford at right. CLICK TO ENLARGE

The color plate scans are not too bad, but they are too yellow. However, they are printed on hyper-gloss, hyper-white paper that feels and looks NOTHING like an Oz book. The stock is glossy on both sides, too, another inaccuracy.

The endpapers are adequate at best. They are far too gray and not in the least sharp. The stock feels wrong to me, too. One nice bonus is the inclusion of a reproduction of the 1920 Map of Oz with the Oz flag on the back. It is printed on the rough matte-finish endpaper stock - not the original glossy stock it should be. But as this is a "bonus" item, who's to quibble? Personally I wish they'd saved the bonus map to include with Glinda of Oz as the original map was back in 1920. It could have been a little something to spruce up the latter half of the BE books. Tik-Tok is the last book with any special features (the map endpapers), so from here on out, all the books are essentially the same: pictorial label, black and white endpapers, twelve color plates.

The cover (above) is generally attractive  -  but BE has recolored the orange/pink background in Photoshop and it feels a bit "faked." The blue outlining of the title lettering is far too light - indeed the whole cover is missing a blue cast the original has. Tik-Tok himself seems gray rather than bluish oxidized copper.

Now, IMHO, all these things are typical Bradford screw-ups. What got me Ozzed up enough to bother with another Bradford blog was this: They left out the ownership leaf! Completely! Interestingly, there is a blank page at the end of the Bradford Tik-Tok (there is none in the original edition), but of course they have an extra page at the end - they left out the ownership leaf at the beginning!

The page Bradford forgot to include!

It seems pretty clear no one is checking these books, asking for proofs, comparing them to original source material, or much of anything other than knocking out expensive product for a series that more and more people seem to be abandoning. These latter Baum books BE is producing might just turn out to be very rare and thus valuable someday, if only because no one will even be subscribing to the series by the time they get to Glinda.

What can one say? How do they forget the ownership leaf? How do they not question the mysterious appearance of an extra blank page at the end of the book? Why does no one care that the book is printed so abysmally?

I really don't plan to do anymore Bradford Exchange reviews - there's just no point. Hey, Tik-Tok, your thinking is wound up pretty tight, isn't there some advice or a moral you could offer?

In-deed, Da-vid. Fool me eight times shame on you - fool me four-teen times shame on me.

Oh, Tik-Tok . . .


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Jay said...

"These latter Baum books BE is producing might just turn out to be very rare and thus valuable someday, if only because no one will even be subscribing to the series by the time they get to Glinda."

But rare and valuable won't matter if they're not desirable.

Like we've already decided, you want first editions, get first editions. You want something like a first edition with a lower price, get Books of Wonder. (You'll just have to put up with the changes they made.)

saintfighteraqua said...

These are just horrible.
I wondered what happened to your reviews of these and to be honest I might be glad you are stopping them, they just make me angry! ;p

It's such a shame that the average photoshop user could do a better job at "restoring" these books.

BE will never get my money with these atrocities.

Joe said...

I wondered if the fainter print at the beginning of the book was just my book, but I guess it isn't. At least this one seems to be the first BE book I received that didn't have a weird crease in the spine.

BE doesn't strike me as having it all together in general... I originally had two separate accounts going so that I could get two editions of the first book, but then I canceled it. They had already charged me for two copies of LAND when I canceled, but they never sent me the second copy on the canceled account. Since every time I called, I was on hold for around 30-40 minutes, I wrote them a letter about never receiving the book, but never got a response (this was months ago now).

Sam said...

I just thought I'd look at my Books of Wonder edition of "Tik-Tok" to make a comparison myself.

At first it seems identical with the lines, EXCEPT that even my BoW printing shows a bit of white in Betsy's eye and mouth instead of a sloppy blotch.

You may not like the Bradford Exchange editions, but i do like reading how the differ, especially in seeing the changes.