David Brawn, publisher of Estates at HarperCollins, said: “It is customary for publishers to release new editions of books to commemorate milestone anniversaries, and as we entered The Hobbit’s 75th year, we felt we should acknowledge its success not only in print but also in the e-book world. Many thousands of readers have embraced The Hobbit in the two years since it was first released as an e-book, and with the growing availability of color-enabled devices, we felt it was time to offer an alternative edition, complete with Tolkien’s color pictures from our popular Deluxe edition. Together with J. R. R. Tolkien’s now famous half-hour recording of Bilbo’s encounter with Gollum, the recent discovery of three further unreleased extracts – one long and two short – meant we have been able to enhance the e-book even further. At a time when there is so much speculation about how others are visualizing The Hobbit, it is rather special to be able to read the novel with Tolkien’s own pictures and with parts of it read in his own voice, for a truly authentic experience.”
Exclusive to this enhanced version of the e-book are new high-resolution color images of all of Tolkien’s illustrations for the book, many of which are also included in their earlier black-and-white versions, which can be revealed by a simple swipe of the screen. A foreword by Christopher Tolkien examines the writing of the book, complete with illustrations including manuscript pages and unused drawings. Finally, the enhanced e-book includes some recently discovered audio recordings of J. R. R. Tolkien reading excerpts from The Hobbit, including the dwarves’ party song, the account of their capture by the three trolls, and Bilbo Baggins’s terrifying encounter with the hideous Gollum.
Bilbo Baggins enjoys a quiet and contented life, with no desire to travel far from the comforts of home. Then one day the wizard Gandalf and a band of dwarves arrive unexpectedly and enlist his services — as a burglar — on a dangerous expedition to raid the treasure-hoard of Smaug the Dragon. Bilbo’s life is never to be the same again.
The Hobbit was an instant success when it was first published in 1937, and 75 years later Tolkien’s epic tale of hobbits, elves, dwarves, goblins, myth, magic and adventure has lost none of its appeal.