Sunday, November 13, 2005

It Would Be Nice If The People Who Wrote The Headlines Actually Had Read The Stories...

A Home for 1,082 Penguins - A New Mexico couple have become perhaps the first people to own the complete collection of the Penguin Classics Library. Go to Article

That is on the front page of the New York Times Website today.

Two things ran though my mind. First, I had thought quite a few more than 1,082 Penguins had been issued and, secondly, with so many collectors - collecting them (and entire stores specializing in selling used ones) - and their cheapness being due to the fact the printed so many of each title - how could one couple - just now - be the first to get a complete set?

So... how many strikes before calling this headline a... strike out?


In September, Ms. Gursky received a birthday gift from her husband that earned her the envy of her book-loving friends: the complete collection of the Penguin Classics Library, 1,082 books sold only by for nearly $8,000.


Not since Penguin started the collection in 1946, however, has anyone been able to easily compile or purchase a complete set of the books, which range from ancient Greek poetry to the novels of Thomas Pynchon and include the complete works of Shakespeare, four translations of the "Iliad," 20 volumes each of the works of Henry James and Dickens. (The complete list can be found at by searching for "Penguin Classics Library.")


Despite its daunting scope, the Penguin Classics Complete Collection is not actually complete. Penguin lists some 1,300 titles in its catalog but included only 1,082 in the Amazon collection. "We included every title in stock at sufficient levels to ensure the continued availability of the collection," Mr. McCall explained. "In the final analysis, there were approximately 200 titles that did not make the cut due to limited availability, most often because they were on our schedule to be completely revised."


Amazon will not say how many sets have been sold so far or who has bought them, citing the need to protect the buyers' privacy. Penguin seems not to know who the buyers are other than Ms. Gursky, who acknowledged her ownership in a review of the collection on Amazon's Web site. Mr. McCall said that Penguin has shipped "one to two sets a week" to Amazon since it began selling the collection in mid-June.

OK... this couple does not own a complete set of Penguin Library; they only have 1,082 of the 1300 in currently in print. Not addressed, are those Penguins no longer in print. Third - the article says AMAZON started selling the series in... June... and that they sell one to two sets a week. Then the article says referenced couple bought their set in... September, three months after other people started buying the admittedly incomplete library. So even when it comes to this abbreviated version of the 'complete' Penguin Library, they were clearly not the first to buy even this truncated version. So when does someone at the New York Times ... notice this?

No comments: