Bookfessional: Special Edition Books

Posted October 13, 2017 by Jessica in Bookfessional, Jessica / 9 Comments

Bookfessional: Special Editions


Have you guys noticed the recent uptick in new and improved versions of popular novels?

This phenomenon seems to manifest in one of two ways:

1. Chain stores like Barnes & Noble and/or Target offer versions of a new release with additional content specific to their version.

What this super special content is seems to vary on a case-by-case basis. Sometimes it’s a previously unpublished short story from the series in question. Sometimes it’s fan art on the inside of the book covers. Sometimes the book is signed by the author. Sometimes there’s an exclusive book cover . . . The question is whether or not it’s worth the fuss.

In my experience, the answer is a resounding NOPE.

The biggest problem is finding out about these extra content versions. I recently spent an inordinate amount of time on both the B&N and Target websites trying to find a definitive list of said books, and from what I could determine, Target simply doesn’t have one and B&N doesn’t have a way to narrow the search parameters, so you’re stuck manually scrolling through page after page of books that don’t interest you in the hopes of stumbling over one that does.

This lack of information is why many readers don’t find out that different versions exist until after they’ve already purchased the regular version.

A few years ago, when I first heard this was happening, it didn’t matter. My inner fan girl demanded that I have ALL THE THINGS. So I ordered duplicate copies and chortled happily when the super special version arrived, which back then almost always meant an unpublished short story . . . And then a year later an anthology of short stories that included my super special exclusive story would be released, so I was stuck with two copies for no good reason.

This happened more than once.

A secondary problem exclusive to Target is that is actually a separate company from Target-the-store.

You: How u know dis thing?

Me: B/c the super special version of HARRY POTTER AND THE CURSED CHILD I ordered arrived without the super special extras, and when I took the not-so-special-after-all book and invoice to the customer service counter of my local store, they couldn’t do anything. B/c different companies.

It is also of note that the reason I went to the physical store is b/c removed the listing of the super special version. There was also something wacky about digital invoice. I no longer recall the specifics, but basically there wasn’t a way to address the issue online.


SO. I’ve pretty much abandoned my pursuit of any version that isn’t the version.

The one exception I might at some point find myself making is for the most recent manifestation of super specialness that includes pretteh fan art on the inner covers. B/c that’s just cool.


Only if I find out about its existence before I already own the normal version.

2. Publishers are releasing new “collector” versions of old books.

I’ve stumbled across this type of thing during on exploits on Amazon of late. So far the only one to peak my interest is A DARKER SHADE OF MAGIC by V.E. Schwab which includes a glossary of terms, never-before-seen stories (yes, plural) from the SHADES OF MAGIC world, and an interview between Schwab and her editor.

Worth it?

Undetermined. But I’ll probably be able to tell you soon b/c glutton for punishment who never learns her lesson.

I also admit to owning three complete sets of HARRY POTTER, as well as the Slytherin Edition of HARRY POTTER AND THE SORCERER’S STONE, and the first three installments of the as yet incomplete illustrated versions. #cantstopwontstop

BUT. I will not be falling prey to the 10 Year Anniversary version of CITY OF BONES by Cassandra Clare or the Collector’s Edition of RED QUEEN by Victoria Aveyard.

PS: during the creation of this post I discovered that there is in fact a B&N Special Edition version of the Collector’s Edition of V.E. Schwab’s A DARKER SHADE OF MAGIC (TBR 10/31/17). If you’re interested.

What about you? Have you bought the special editions of your favorite books? Do you think it’s worth it?

Jessica Signature

My name is Jessica and I live in Chattanooga, Tennessee. I’m trying my hand at writing, but mostly I read. My favorite genres are Fantasy, Paranormal Romance, Science Fiction, Urban Fantasy, and the YA versions of those genres, but if there is a book of a different color getting lots of buzz, I’ll read it too, just to be informed. If I’m not reading or writing, I’m probably on Goodreads or Pinterest or baking blueberry pies because I love them.



9 responses to “Bookfessional: Special Edition Books

  1. Sonia from The Book Wielding

    Well… I’m also a glutton for punishment because I bought the Ravenclaw special edition for my sister and shall have all four for myself. Plus the hardcover set b/c my old one is mismatched and somehow I misplaced 2 books. Plus we need the new paperback set that forms the castle with books B/C my niece needs to read it when she is old enough to read, thus we need the whole set in Portuguese too.

    And yeah, the illustration editions will be bought too. And the Case of Beasts B/C I’m obsessed with anything HP related.

    Uhmmm… I guess I’ll need a new bookshelf too to hold all my HP content…..

    And since I haven’t read/bought the shades of magic series, your post pretty much doomed me. The special one is the same height as the others, right? Because that causes a bit of an issue….
    Sonia recently posted…Short and Sweet Review: Dead Witch Walking by Kim Harrison

    • The HP paperbacks that form the castle are one of my sets I’m still deciding whether or not to get all four of the house editions.

      And yeah, the collector’s edition of ADSoM is the same size as the others in the series. I hate when publishers change the dimensions. Like I just got the hardcover of Laini Taylor’s A NIGHT OF CAKE AND PUPPETS and it’s smaller than the books in the main trilogy. Drives me NUTS.

      • I bought the digital copy of A Night of Cake of Puppets when it first came out. I don’t have those in hardcover…. but I want to so much.

        I had a very thorough rant about the UK Harper Collins edition of Allegiant when it first came out. It had 4 cm more than the other two. I complained so much during an entire year that I’m really ashamed to say that I had no reason for that. Since the edition I had was the smaller paperbacks that was published a year later. I felt so bad for grumbling so much that I still have the Divergent trilogy to read. LOL. The UK covers are beautiful. I’m just not used to have thre or four different editions of the same book.
        Sonia recently posted…Short and Sweet Review: Dead Witch Walking by Kim Harrison

  2. Sullivan McPig

    I have the special 10 year anniversary paperback of Slave to Sensation by Making Singh, but that one was gifted to me so probably doesn’t count.
    Otherwise I do buy the UK paperback of some books (Patricia Briggs) to be able to read it as the book releases and then I’ll buy the US paperback a year later because those covers are prettier imo.

    • Yeah, once I discovered I could get Australian and British books when they’re actually published from Book Depository, I was a goner, lol.

      And Dan dos Santos is amaziiiiing (the artist who designs the US Briggs covers).

  3. I have not fallen prey to the special edition phenomenon. The special content usually does come out in either an ebook or anthology. The thing that gets me is when they release books with different sizes. The original paperback for Midnight, Texas by Charlaine Harris is one of those tall skinny ones that looks awful with the rest of my paperbacks, so guess who bought a HC when that was released. Of course since my odd shaped one is signed, I can’t bring myself to get rid of it, so I’m stuck wondering where to put it on the shelf. My biggest beef is getting them signed. I’m addicted to virtual signings. I end up spending way to much on those things, because once they are signed, they go on the shelf of honor and I end up buying the ebook so I don’t mess up the signed. Oh the dilemmas!

  4. Nicki S

    I’ve never heard of these special editions before. Guess you have to actually shop at B&N (I don’t; been inside exactly one in the last 20 years just to show my son how expensive they are, lol. We shop HalfPriceBooks), or subscribe to some insider newsletter (I try to limit the emails and newsletters I receive).

    The only way I’d buy a special edition is from the author directly I think. Electronic signatures printed seperately and inserted into books aren’t my thing; I’d want an actually hand-signed book, in pen, and preferably in person, because who knows what a signature looks like otherwise? Guess I’m too old-fashioned and too cynical to be a good customer for special edition books.