Re-Packaging Harry Potter, Twilight, and Hunger Games Book Sets: For Readers, for Collectors, or for Christmas Gift Givers?

Serious Readers are dedicated re-readers by definition. Their favorite books and series collections have a much-loved, well-worn feel and appearance.

Serious Publishers, facing bottom line demands, are by definition shameless re-treaders. It’s nothing new, Dickens’ work appeared in three chapter pamphlets, then books, then library and collector’s editions. It’s a painless way of making a valuable commodity pay again and again into one’s account.

Witness these several new variations and versions of Harry Potter, Twilight, and Hunger Games:

  • Special Edition Harry Potter Box Set. All seven books in paperback — “The box itself is beautifully designed with new artwork by Kazu Kibuishi, and the books create a gorgeous, magical vista when the spines are lined up together.” $57.27
  • The Twilight Saga White Collection. “This gorgeous gift set–available for a limited time only–includes paperback editions of Twilight, New Moon, Eclipse, Breaking Dawn, and The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner with exclusive white covers, making it the perfect gift for fans of the bestselling series.” $48.93
  • The Hunger Games Trilogy Box Set — Paperbacks. “All three books in the Hunger Games trilogy are now available for the first time in a paperback box set! This special edition showcases the iconic logos in a striking new design.” $26.48

I would bet good money (chocolate doubloons!) — if there were any way of verifying the data that would have to be gathered — that almost all of these sets are bought by or bought for readers who already have all the books in question. Scroll down the Amazon pages linked above and you’ll note that the most popular reviews are written by Twi-hards and their equivalent in Harry Potter and Hunger Games fandoms, fans who rate these sets on the desirability-for-obsessed-fan scale.

Curiously, though, if you scroll farther down, you’ll find reviews from readers who think these are new books about which they want to give a thumbs up or down with respect to their content for potential buyers. See especially the new hardcover School Books set. No joke.

Which makes me wonder. I’d say these re-treaded re-packaging bundles are sold largely at Christmas gift time to aunts and brothers not knowing what to get niece, nephew, sister or little brother — but because each knows the other will love anything to do with their favorite series of books, this is a no-fail present. Sure beats a movie-stills calendar or Snape action figure, right?

But maybe there’s more to it. Maybe the super editions actually draw in new readers? Let me know what you think — and please share your gift stories if you have given or received any of these sets.

Trivia time: What were the best selling Dickens novels of his lifetime? A HogPron No Prize to anyone that guesses two out of three before checking this literary historian’s best estimates. Maybe someday Ms Rowling’s Cormoran Strike mysteries will be better remembered than her Harry Potter novels?


  1. I suspect the paperback box sets are NOT going to be purchased by those who already have the books (at least not if they have them in hardcover) – I’ve always assumed the paperback sets were for fans who read them from the library and want their own sets and can’t afford the hardcover sets, OR people who have come to the series late but wants all of them – as it is, I was given HP 1-6 in the paperback originally (I later bought a hardcover set off a student worker cheaply I return for giving her my a paperback set to donate to the college library like she was going to do if she couldn’t sell them)

  2. Please excuse my typos above, for some reason my iPad is not letting me see the full comment box at any given time and I should have proofread even if it wasn’t letting me edit by that point…

  3. I am a teacher. Many of my fourth grade students read these stories for the first time with library copies. If they show a lot of interest, parents will sometimes buy them the whole set as a gift. Literary sacrilage aside, they will alos read them out of order sometimes, when availability is an issue. So it wouldn’t surprise me at all if they started reading a series, then got hooked, and then wanted a set of their own. These are all kids, btw, born after 2000, who never had a chance to buy the originals.

  4. I honestly can’t say I know whether or not someone who’s read ay of the above series would in fact by them, unless perhaps they are professional bibliophile collectors.

    However, I do know what it’s like to get two editions of the same favorite book (my prized possession at the moment, the single volume edition of John Rateliff’s The History of the Hobbit), so I can understand to a degree why fans of the text may want to get another edition of it. Also, there’s the fact that all famous books have to get a reissue sooner or later, which means newer editions are an inevitability.

  5. Technically, my husband owns the HP series in the original U.S. hardcovers, and I bought them in a 2010 paperback from the U.K. But U.S. and U.K. editions are different enough that I found it to be worth it. Plus, my husband isn’t sure whether or not his hardcovers are actually his, and they’re still at his parents’ house.

    I would only get a boxed set after a library read, or borrowing from a friend, and I wanted the books for myself. For instance, I own a boxed set of Roald Dahl books, which I never owned growing up, but read often and loved.

  6. Sharon Slade Jackson says

    There’s also the possibility that fans of the book(s) have read them so many times that they are falling apart and they want replacement copies. This happened recently for me with Orson Scott Card’s Ender’s Game, of which I now have the Movie Tie-In edition – yes, received as a Christmas present – as well as an early copy that is in lamentable, but very well-read, condition.

    Another possibility is that bibliophilic parents with cash to spare might like to keep the spines on their own copies intact, so when they allow their kids to read the series, they buy them their own set. They might also purchase multiple sets for siblings who are desperate to read the same series at the same time. I have two readers who constantly fight over who has the John Flanagan Ranger’s Apprentice book they want to read, but I don’t have quite that much spare cash.

    Sometimes I just buy a complete set all at once to replace copies of a series collected over time with varying, unmatched covers. Or I purchase a Penguin Black Classics edition to replace a non-Penguin copy of a Great Book, ofttimes received as a gift. What can I say? I love matching sets! And I much prefer the Penguin editing and proof reading over that of many cheaper publishers. It also means I can add to the local library’s collection by donating my unmatched/non-Penguin books. My local library has less books on the shelves than my home, so they need all the donations they can get.

    Having said that, my own nicely matching HP set was purchased long after I read the first books, which I initially borrowed from one of my students to read as they were published.

    I also have both eBook and paperback copies of the Twilight series. I read the eBook copies when the presence of my underlining, post-its and margin notes becomes annoying.

  7. Indeed, Sharon, these sets are often replacements at our house, or “nice” versions. I own a nice set of hardback Hunger Games books, but my paperback copy that I use in class is something of a college legend for its markers, annotations, and bits of paper. Sometimes I want my old editions, though (like properly arranged Narnia!); my family bought me a beautiful illustrated LOTR set last year to replace my ratty paperbacks, but they are different editions in text, most disconcerting! And, the biggest drawback is that the books never fit back into the box! My copy of Breaking Dawn sits on top of the box, and I have the Twilight illustrated guide and Bree Tanner in its spot! I do like the extras that sometimes come with the sets, like the little booklet that came with the Divergent set I received this Christmas, because, yes, I did not have my own copies and was waiting for the end!

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