Saturday, 27 October 2007

Some P-T/blog related thoughts

I have had some fruitful pony book parcels this week. I managed to acquire (many thanks to bevi who put me on the right track) the edition of the Black Beauty's Family which has that elusive Black Raven in.

Which got me thinking. As I was sitting on my bed last night, after helping Jane (of Jane Badger books) with her soon to be published Christine section, that how long it would take to get through every single P-T books I have (including those I have left on my wish list). So I started to write it all out. 104 books. Which means, that taking into account, that I am only doing one book a week, that it will take 2 years (since there are 52 weeks in a year). That is a long time, and I bet by the time it is finished, things will move on in my life. Of course, most of Christine's later books are for a younger age groups than most of hers, so that wont take as long to do, but it's one commitment. I just hope that I manage to find all the ones that are on my want list. I suspect that The Horse Sale will be the hardest, since I am after that lovely edition that Sheila Rose did the cover for (blue background), which is harder to find, than other edition of the same book. I must admit that I do prefer illustrated covers over photographic covers of books, illustrations seem timeless and have a certain charm. I had a look at my local county library's website, and they do have 20 P-T books, and fortunately one of them is on my want list, so hopefully I can request it if I am desperate (since it is not located at my local or the main library). Though sadly, with the exception of Fair Girls and Grey Horses, they do not have any of the author's adult titles.

I also managed to get hold of my last wanted Joanna Cannan book: They Bought Her A Pony. Which means now that I have all the Joanna Cannan pony books. I have not read any of her other non pony related titles, as again, like her daughter's adult works, my local library does not stock any (and there are none in the county, the nearest I got was May Cannan).

But it got me thinking: once about 2 years down the line: should I do Joanna? As it says on my first post, this is mainly about the P-T's. Sometimes, kind of like today, I will go off track and stray away from the P-T's but this will always be pony book related (and yes, shock horror!! I do have other pony books which arent by the sisters). But I think Joanna does have a rightful place here: if she was not born, then we would not have the P-T's. Also if it wasnt for Joanna encouraging them and the sisters seeing her writing throughout their childhood (had their mother been a housewife, then maybe we wouldnt have the lovely books we have today), then they would not have been tempted to start what is obviously a very successful and fruitful career, both for themselves and pony book sellers alike. I doubt that one pony book seller has not had at least 1 P-T book pass through their hands. I am sure Jane has plenty in her stock room!! Also, Vanessa at Fidra has definitely reprinted 2 of Joanna's works and Josephine's Six Ponies, if there wasnt a demand for P-T/Joanna Cannan books, then she wouldnt go down that route.

It als0 got me thinking: what is the most expensive pony fictional book (not just P-T books)? Previously, I would have said that Primrose Cumming's Silver Snaffles was the most expensive, being such a hard to find book in the first place, and definitely commanding a high price. However with the soon to be released Fidra books edition coming out, and for the maximum price of £15, I bet a lot of people will be going for that. Great if you are a buyer (myself included: I have ordered a copy), I suppose it is horrible if you are a bookseller. What was a nice little earner is probably sitting longer unsold than it did before, though there are some purists who want the original edition (and have the money for it!). I dont know the answer: the most I spent on a single book was £45 on an Caroline Akrill hb edition of I'd Rather Not Gallop (and it is signed to boot).

Anyway, here is my want list, if anyone is interested. I have not included titles which I have already and want to replace with certain editions, I'll leave that until later, as it is not something I am desperate for. If you have any of these, please let me know. Just one thing: I am not interested in hardback editions of books which are missing their dustjacket: I cant stand that. Though of course, if it is something with a pictorial cover (such as the Collins Pony Library series), I'll make an exception. Like I previously said, I prefer illustrated over photographic covers.

Josephine Pullein-Thompson

# Proud Riders
# Save The Ponies!

To make matters worse, there is an book also called Save The Ponies by Gillian Baxter as well as Josephine. They arent the same book: Gillian's was published in 1971, whereas Josephine's was published in 1983. You would think that the publishers would check there hasnt been a book with the same title, considering Gillian's was only published 12 years before. Anyway, I am definitely not after the Gillian Baxter edition.

Christine Pullein-Thompson

# A Pony In Distress
# Incredible Pony Tales
# Little Black Pony
# Magical Pony Tales
# Ponies In The Blizzard
# Ponies In The Forest
# Ponies In The Park
# The Best Pony For Me! (am now waiting for this one, but I dont count it being off the want list until it is physically in my hands)


haffyfan said...

I would be very interested to find out which edition of black Beauty's family has Black Raven in? Since it was confirmed I have emailed endless book sellers on Abe/Amazon but only 1 has bothered to reply so far and it was the wrong one. I found a foreign (swedish I think) version very easily if that counts?

pullein-thompson-archive said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
pullein-thompson-archive said...

It is the Beaver edition entitled "Black Beauty's Family 2", published in 1982, which has the Black Raven in. There is an Beaver book called "Black Beauty's Family 1", which was published in 1981, but I dont know what stories it contains.

I know what you mean about abebooks, I asked 10 sellers at the same time: only 3 replied. Only 2 gave me the right answer, one gave me an strange answer (giving the names of the chapters rather than the titles), but I was able to work out myself that it was the wrong one.

haffyfan said...

Thank you...I have just ordered a was so easy to find once I knew year and this time seller got straight back to me with conformation of titles (just to make sure)!

Susan in Boston said...

Re most expensive books...on the UK side, I would agree that Silver Snaffles was the big ticket will be interesting to see what happens to the value when the reprints appear. It's a cult classic in the US too, so the international competitiion for early printings may help it hold value. The Hodder and Stoughton hardcover editions of Ruby Ferguson's Jill books are getting up there, and the early dustjacketed Pullein-Thomspons seem to command a good price too.

On the US side, the most expensive book I've ever seen listed was Nancy Caffery's Show Pony, at $450, the most expensive I've ever actually seen sell (in an ebay bidding war) was Patsey Gray's The Horse Trap for $300.

Books in the $100 range are common, and sell pretty quickly. I know that's a shocker, but it's supply and demand. The supply of hardcover books that aren't ex-library, is very, very limited...the practice of giving book tokens to children, so they could chose their own books, just didn't exist here, so far fewer books were printed, and fewer still made it into private hands to be cared for and passed on.

Re Joanna Cannan....congrats on getting your last title! I love her American printing of A Pony For Jean is really what got me started collecting English horsebooks! I've read a couple of her mysteries that were reprinted in the US, Death at the Dog and They Rang Up the Police, and they were excellent....many reviews I've seen compare her to Agatha Christie and Dorothy Sayers.

Jane said...

I think you should include Joanna Cannan too.

As for expensive pony books, I think there will always be a market for the first editions. With my own collection, at first I started off getting any edition I could of things that I hadn't read, but since then I've upgraded them to firsts with djs, or just better copies, as it's been possible. My ideal is to have very good firsts with djs of everything! - I have a long, long way to go though....

The most expensive pony book I've ever sold was Silver Snaffles. Very good Elyne Mitchells in djs can get quite pricey and as Susan says, Jill is moving up over the years. Six Ponies can be quite expensive and I have seen some monstrously expensive K M Peytons (though they carried on being listed at that price for some years: just because it's listed high doesn't mean someone's going to buy it!) H M Peel can be quite expensive too. Very good firsts of Golden Gorse's Moorland Mousie can go for quite a price. I've sold a few and they always go well. In fact, now I think about it, they weren't far off the price for Silver Snaffles.

As for Silver Snaffles, I think the reprint will affect certainly the Knight paperback, which is abridged, and the tattier hardbacks, but the good hardbacks with djs should hold their value.

I'm fascinated by the books Susan mentions, some of which I've never even heard of. When I look at the bookselling sites, I have noticed that many many books are ex-library.

mokey said...

Hi,you were wanting a copy of The Horse Sale with the lovely blue Sheila Rose cover - if you are interested there is one currently up for auction in a set of 3 on ebay Its located here in Australia! Cheers, Jane in Oz.

pullein-thompson-archive said...

Thanks for the link mokey.

Unfortunately the ebay seller only posts to Australia, and I am in the UK.

pullein-thompson-archive said...

Thanks for your replies Jane and susan in boston.

I havent heard of those authors Susan, like Jane. I think it is because we had so many great names of our own, and the fact that the P-T's and K M Peyton were writing enough to keep many people happy that USA authors didnt get a look in. The 1980s and 1990s meant that horses werent as important, and pony books suffered. Since the 1980s and 1990s, coverage of horse sports (bar racing) has declined on the BBC, and these days, rather than people curling up with a good book, there are competition from both the internet and game consoles etc.

I know what you mean about getting any book, that is why in reality my P-T want list is bigger than what I posted originally due to replacing certain editions. It's mainly the two "Moors" books (Star-Riders and Ghost Horse) of Josephine's, the rest of the series are first editions, and those two are sticking out like a sore thumb. Ideally,I would love all mine to be hard backs, but in reality, the horse books I want (I am after other pony books not written by the P-T's) means that I wont have the shelf space for them all.

I suppose prices for the paperback editions of Silver Snaffles will go back when Fidra stop publishing Silver Snaffles, though like you say, there will be always a good price for the hardback copies. Though prices may go up a little for her other works - as far as I am aware of, Silver Snaffles is the only Primrose Cumming book that is being republished by Fidra. I myself have "No Place For Ponies" (though I admit I havent read it) for what I think is a reasonable price of £6 (excluding postage), with a almost perfect dj. It may prompt others to buy her other books, some of which are almost as pricey as Silver Snaffles (particularly first editions).

bevi said...

So pleased you found it!