Recently, Black Library has been testing out several different methods of delivering books to readers of Warhammer 40k (and Warhammer Fantasy) fiction. They are delving pretty headfirst into the ebook format, which I cannot say enough good things about. You may know that if you have heard me talk about it on the show. They have embraced audio-books and also waded into the waters of "Limited Edition" releases. The first of which appeared to be limited to a specific number of copies only available through the Black Library web site. If you missed the small window of opportunity to buy the book (made even worse by the fact that the site would crash due to the load of traffic it was receiving) you were out of luck. Black Library seems to have realized that this method isn't going to work for everyone, and they are now basically taking pre-orders for "limited edition" books on their site, and then (I assume) doing a print run to match the number of orders they generate. They are also making a few copies available in the Games Workshop brick and mortar stores. And finally, they are now releasing some books in special "Collectors Edition" formats. In particular the books that make up The Horus Heresy.
Having received the three initial Horus Heresy books (Horus Rising, False Gods, and Galaxy in Flames) in the collectors edition format, as well as the latest release (Angel Exterminatus) I couldn't help but think they needed to be reviewed in depth for those that are considering purchasing them.
So why are these books potentially worth purchasing?
First of all, if you are a collector of books, these are going to be the definitive collection of The Horus Heresy Series. Looking at an entire bookshelf of these beautiful hardbacks is going to be a really nice thing to have.
Second, the hardbacks contain beautiful cover art. Not only does the provided dust jacket have the original paperback artwork on it, the covers of the books themselves display the original art without words or title to mar the surface of the paintings! The books are of an extremely high quality of construction, and after having read through one in its entirety, it still looks as though it is brand new.
Third, the books each contain four new pieces of black and white artwork inside, which detail specific scenes or characters. I'm not going to oversell this art. It is at a high comic book level of quality. Though there are a few pictures that are really nice to have, where aliens that are only previously described in words are given form on the page. This can help a lot if you are having problems picturing in your head what the author has written about.
And last of all, each book contains some commentary by the original author. This is usually no more than two pages or so, in which the author speaks about the writing of the book, their goals for the story, or some other tale related to what they have put to page.
To be honest, for the collector, these are the way to go. The only major issue is that they are not cheap. Each hardback edition weighs in at $30 USD. This will probably prove to be a barrier for most that are looking to replace their entire collection of (23 to date!) Horus Heresy books. It would cost over $600 to replace just the books that have been released so far!
Taking into account that there is no new story here, (If you have read the books in paperback or ebook format already, you are getting no new revelations of any kind.) the cost of repurchasing these stories might just be a tough pill to swallow for many.