Neil Gaiman's
AMERICAN GODS


Published by:

ISBN: 0-931771-02-1
Edition size: 750 numbered52 lettered
MSRP: $200.00$900.00


For a long time now, I've wanted to scrounge-up the money to purchase a lettered edition of this title. The reason? Frankly, because it just looked so damn cool. The pictures posted on Hill House's (HH) website were absolutely stunning. However, I could find no eBay listings. Indeed, the lettered edition neither showed up on Abebooks nor Biblio. The $900 price tag was simply too much for my (meager) budget and would, therefore, be forever beyond my reach.

Then something really interesting happened. I was doing my usual internet surfing one night and decided to see if HH had posted any updates on their upcoming edition of The Martian Chronicles. While there wasn't any new news on TMC, HH had posted their Winter 2006 newsletter. In it, it was revealed that there were only two remaining copies of the lettered edition left - and it was discounted to $550! While this was still a tremendous amount of money, it was a deal simply too good to pass up. With resolve, fully aware that my credit card was going to get pummeled, I wrote to HH and requested one.

Some weeks later, it arrived in a huge FedEx box weighing over 15 pounds! There was a problem, though. Even though HH had clearly affixed fragile warnings all over the shipping carton, there was a significant tear on one side as if someone had tried to play soccer with the box. Upon opening the package, I saw that HH had done a superb packing job, even going so far as to double-box the book. Unfortunately, the padding wasn't enough. Because marble can damage easily if you hit it in just the right way, there were huge cracks and "veins" running throughout the door. After informing HH of this, they immediately sent me a replacement door, which was virtually flawless and only took about a minute to install (I shipped the old door back).


I knew creating this entry would be a difficult endeavour, as there were a LOT of facets to document. In the end, I wound-up taking over 40 pictures, which was more than even I had imagined this entry would need. I think this is probably the most complete photographic record of American Gods you will ever likely see.

HH did a phenomenal job, but there are nevertheless a few shortcomings with this production:

Essentially, the lettered edition simply adds the box and the chapbook (and, of course, the letter). Would I have been happy if I had paid the full $900 MSRP when the numbered version retails for only $200? That's very debatable. I do think it's worth $550, though. The box is truly gorgeous. That said, I hope you enjoy the pics.


- L E T T E R E D -

The "care and feeding" of the lettered edition.

"AMERICAN GODS" in big, bold letters etched into the marble door. (The cutting-board is what I use when Brodarting books.)

The left-hand side of the box.

The right-hand side.

The top.

The back.

And the bottom. Notice the cushions. Very handy when sliding the book across a surface so as to not damage the wood.

A close-up of the spiral door handle.

The door open. The book fits pretty snugly. Also note the velcro on the top and bottom right-hand sides of the box, which works in securing the door closed.

A close-up of the top hinge. The fasteners are the cam screwlocking type.

The bottom. Notice the felted slide-out tray with the attached pull-out strap.

A shot of the entire production.

Sliding the tray out.

The inside of the box.

A close-up of the sliderail. Notice how it's slightly beveled.

The slide-out tray completely removed. There's felt on all the inner walls.

A close-up of the rail groove. The beveling allows it to "mate" with the box so that the tray can't flop around inside. There's also an endstop so the tray can't slam into the back of the box.

The chapbook included only with the lettered edition.

Interestingly, it's actually two chapbooks reverse-bound together.

The chapbook spine. Notice the two chapbook titles and the print orientation.

The chapbook limitation page.

The title page for ONLY THE GODS ARE REAL: A Guide to the Gods in AMERICAN GODS (the first chapbook).

And here we can see the embedded ribbon bookmark for the chapbook. Odd that one wasn't included with the main book.

The front of the slipcase with the main book inserted. Notice the die-cut rectangle hinting at the book's cover design.

The back of the slipcase.

And the spine. No title stamping, unfortunately.

An interior shot of the slipcase. I've never seen a slipcase with a pull-out ribbon. Very ingenious

A close-up of how the ribbon is anchored to the slipcase. It really does work when extracting the book. When the book is fully inserted, it is TIGHT and would otherwise take a lot of force to remove.

The front of the book with the...interesting facing design.

The back of the book.

And the spine. No stamping, but a label instead. Hill House has stated that stamping was planned, but the book's outer material prevented it from fully affixing, so this was used, instead.

The edge. No gilt! Waahh!

The front endpaper.

The limitation page.

And the title page.

The copyright page.

Neil Gaiman's dedication on - you guessed it - the dedication page.

A random interior shot (page 45).

Now for some measurements! A little more than 12.5 inches high.

Just shy of 9.5 inches in depth.

And 5.25 inches in width.

Weighing-in at a total of 15.5 pounds! This thing is a beast!

     

The following are pics of the specially-produced softcover, dubbed "The Reader's Copy". Hill House wisely assumed that people would prefer not to potentially damage their $200 or $900 investment, so they produced an oversized softcover for actual reading purposes. This is very unusual and was probably extremely costly for HH to offer, as they could've simply included the HarperTorch mass-market paperback, but instead decided to commission one of their own. It follows the style of the hardcover and is a handsome complement. It also "mates" with the main book via the limitation identifier (although it isn't signed).

American Gods: The Reader's Copy. Don't put your hardcover in jeopardy, fool! Read this, instead!

A publicity shot of Mr. Gaiman. Smile next time, Neil!

The spine.

The limitation page. Serialized, but not signed.

And the title page. This is a 100%, grade-A Hill House production.

And the copyright page.

       

Here are some bonus pics of the damage done by FedEx to the package and the marble door. Needless to say, FedEx is no longer on my birthday list.

While this doesn't look TOO bad...

...this is the one that dealt the fatal blow to the marble door. Soccer, anyone?

A close-up of the foot-size tear. A little lower and they could've hit the fragile sticker dead-on.

Marble can crack and even shatter if struck in just the right way with the right amount of force. FedEx managed to find both.

Notice the large "veins" running throughout the door. The biggest ones I could actually feel with my fingers.

Some nasty damage, there. The new door displayed none of this.