At first glance, this post may seem like it should be on the writing portion of the site, but this article is more about reading and owning fine editions of books one loves.
Many people have been declaring print books dead, or at least on the way out due to the rise of e-books over the past several years. I'm not arguing for or against e-books, there are plenty of articles all over the web about such things. Now, I do own an e-reader, but the majority of my reading is done the old fashioned way.
Books will live on far into the future, and one of the reasons will be specialty presses. Specialty presses take books that have been mass produced and create new editions, turning them into something truly special, works of art. There is no better example of a specialty press than Subterranean Press, specializing in fantasy, science fiction, and horror, but have strayed into mainstream, mystery, and thriller territory.
Check out this excellent Sub Press edition of Harlan Ellison's wonderful short story collection, Deathbird Stories:
What a beautiful dust jacket. The edition I bought also came with a custom slipcase and was signed by Harlan Ellison. Here is another photo, but of an interior page containing some of the front matter:
These special editions often sell out--and with good reason--the care and attention to detail given to these books is without peer.
Here is another great example from Subterranean Press, Stephen King's, The Shining. The edition I ordered came with a slipcase, as well as a chapbook of Vincent Chong's sketches for the illustrations within the book.
While the slipcase is beautiful, and the chapbook of Vincent Chong sketches is a wonderful bonus, the glossy dust jacket is amazing, as are the black & white illustrations and full page color illustrations inside the book! This is an edition that won't simply sit on my shelf--this one begs to be read and enjoyed. The pages are thick and the typeset is easy on the eyes. This is such an amazing edition of The Shining to own.
But there is more--Subterranean also has very reasonably priced editions of other books, and they produce not only these ultra-limited editions of books, but also career spanning collections spread across multiple volumes of authors such as Jack Vance, Robert Silverberg, and Philip K. Dick.
Lest you think they only cater to the classics, Subterranean also publishes beautiful editions of new works by a wide range of authors such as Peter V. Brett, Brent Weeks, Caitlin R. Kiernan, Kelley Armstrong, John Scalzi--and the list goes on and on.
Subterranean is simply one example of a specialty publisher--though I may have started you off with the best if you're a fan of genre fiction. They certainly hit it out of the park with their editions, and they're great people as well--a bonus in this day and age. Subterranean puts out a regular email with release dates of upcoming titles and offers sales fairly regularly. I highly suggest signing up for the newsletter on their main page, here. These books make wonderful gifts for the lover of fine books in your family.
Do yourself a favor, take a look at their website and browse--you WILL find something you simply must add to your collection.