Book Covers Then & Now: The Lord of the Rings

J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings novels (as well as The Hobbit) have been my favorite books since I first discovered The Fellowship of the Ring back in 1969. I brought the set down from the shelf the other day and decided to compare the scanned copies of these old covers with some of the newer ones issued over the years. You can probably tell by the condition of the first covers in the rows below just how often I read this set. If you look closely you’ll also note the cost of these mass market paperbacks at just .95 each. The book covers on this post are only a few examples of the many issued since the first printing in 1965. Go to Adazing.com for a more thorough list through 2002.

1971

1971

1991

1991

Reissue 2012

Reissue 2012

Hobbit_2012

2013


Fellowship_of_the_Ring_1969

1969

1986

1986

2005

2005

Reissue 2012

Reissue 2012


1970

1970

1986

1986

2005

2005

Reissue 2012

Reissue 2012


1972

1972

1986

1986

2005

2005

Reissue 2012

Reissue 2012

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Speculative Fiction Writer

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Posted in Compelling Book Covers
6 comments on “Book Covers Then & Now: The Lord of the Rings
  1. I may be a bit of a book geek, but I find this interesting.

    • KL Wagoner says:

      You’re not a geek, you’re a book lover! When I did the research for this post, I was amazed at all the different cover variations for the series.

  2. I love this post because these were the books that hooked me on reading. I would never have become an author without them. The 1970’s versions have a special place in my heart, and I have to say my favorite covers are the one’s from the 80’s.

    • KL Wagoner says:

      I didn’t fall in love with fantasy until I read Lord of the Rings. They will always be my favorite set of books. In fact, to clear my head of other “unworthy” writing, I will often read from Tolkien’s work before sitting down to write. Thanks for stopping by!

  3. I like the 1986 versions and the 2013 version!

    • KL Wagoner says:

      It’s always interesting to see how styles change over time. I thought the 1970s covers were pretty nifty when I first saw them, but the 2013 one for the Hobbit really stands out. Thanks for the comment.

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