Collecting Monica Edwards books

Each collector collects for his or her own reasons. It may be that you have enjoyed reading one or more of the books and simply wish to read more. They are not currently available from most libraries, so you have to collect them to read. This is perhaps the most laudable reason for collecting the books.

These notes are aimed to help those who are looking for books to find the right one for them, and to help sellers identify what book they have.

In 2005 Girls Gone By publishers started publishing Monica Edwards' books as affordable paperbacks with the full text and original illustrations, with added notes from her family members. These are excellent and appeal to the reader and to the collector as well, as prices become more and more astronomical for the originals. See their page on this site for more detail and follow the link to their site. Unfortunately, as these run out of print, there is a danger that their prices will escalate as well.

This site will not find books for you, nor advertise second-hand book dealers. You will have to find your own.

Ideally, if you look for original hardbacks, you will find lovely clean copies of all the books as first editions, in beautiful wrappers. Sadly this is now proving to be most expensive.
Twenty years ago I would limit myself to paying a maximum of £15 (GBP) for a first in a very good condition wrapper. If I looked around I could get one for about £12.
Steadily, the asking price for all editions has shot up, and you might be asked to pay as much as £60 for a First with VG wrapper, and well over £100 for some of the rarest titles (or even twice that with some dealers). Note that I say asked, for the price of the book is what you will pay for it. Offer the dealer about 20% less than the price he is asking, and he might well agree to lower the price.
If you buy it at the asked price, the next time he has a copy he will increase the asking price to see if he can get more. Bartering is the order of the day, though this is more true at Bookfairs than in the shops, it is always worth trying !

You will occasionally find bargains, but check closely that all the pages are there, that illustrations aren't coloured in, and if you find faults, weigh up the price in this light.

Every now and then you'll be caught by something missed by yourself or the dealer. That's the game I'm afraid. You can always take it back and see if your complaint is met sympathetically. The vast majority of dealers are fair and will try to help, but be reasonable.
Often our bitterest disappointments are from our own unrealistically high expectations. So just be careful.

If you want to read the books, and after all, that's what they are for, it's best to be aware that all editions of the books are not equal. Some are chopped something awful! Others have been sensitively updated, but aren't the original text.
I haven't been all through the books comparing editions, and many I haven't seen, so my information is not complete, but here goes:

The first editions are complete (surpise, surprise!).
The 'six shilling' ('6/-') reprints are complete.
The Crown Library editions are complete.
The Children's Book Club Editions are also complete.
The Children's Press edition of Wish For a Pony is complete.
The Collins Laurel and Gold edition of Wish For a Pony is complete.
The Seagull Library editions are complete.
The Girl Gone By paperback editions are complete.

The Collins Laurel and Gold edition of The Summer of the Great Secret is abridged.
Some of the The Collins Pony Library editions are abridged. (see the Abridged ? pages.)
Some of the Armada paperbacks are abridged. (see the Abridged ? pages.)

The Goodchild editions are un-dated by the author; and some at least have abridged text.

I think that the Scottie, the Fontana and the two Puffin paperbacks are complete.
I think that the Chivers New Portway editions are complete.

The others I don't know, but would welcome information from those that do, as well as further information about the abridgements mentioned above. See the Abridged ? pages.

Remember that quite a few are still available NEW from Goodchild. Revised, it's true, and some, at least, abridged, but revised by the author (with family input) and they are available at about £7 each, for hardbacks with attractive wrappers. I note that these editions are regularly offered as second-hand and ex-library, for more than you can buy them new !! For more information see 'In Print' and 'Links'above.
Girls Gone By paperbacks are slightly more expensive, but have the full, original text and all the original illustrations. They also have added articles about the author and book of interest to the enthusiast. As I write this (updated July 2007) five books have been published, and more are to follow. For information visit the publisher's site.

For second-hand books you will be asked to pay more if you do little or no hunting yourself.
The Specialist dealers will charge most; so if you give a big dealer a list and wish to sit back and have them all delivered to you in a fortnight, be prepared to break the bank. I've collected economically, but it's taken years, and I'm not finished yet. But then I enjoy the hunting, as long as I find something every now and then.
The cheapest sources are Car Boot Fairs and Charity shops (some, certain others are loopy in their pricing). But be prepared to visit and revisit both lots of times before you find the first bargain.
Catalogues of small 'hobby' dealers are slightly more expensive, but you get the fun of receiving post every now and then, and browsing lists of authors and books you'd forgotten. Such dealers advertise in Book and Magazine Collector, or appear at Bookfairs.

Bookfairs. In Britain there are the ordinary bookfairs, and those organised by the PBFA, a more 'upmarket' organisation. Their dealers are more likely to be proper dealers and to know what they're doing; more expensive, but very useful if stuck. Ordinary bookfairs have a mixture of dealers, and there may be more bargains to be had. Don't be afraid to ask, the stall only holds a few books, he may have dozens of copies of what you're after sitting at home. ASK ! And don't be put off at the negative answers, they'll eventually be followed by a positive.

Prices? I can't really say what is and isn't reasonable. There are people asking a small fortune for the commonest book. If you want first editions with dustwrappers you will have to hunt, and pay; but for the others don't break the bank, there are reasonably priced reprints and CBC editions around even if some of the big dealers ask a lot for them. Be patient.
I think that that's enough to be going on with, sorry to go on so long. This was meant to be a brief note. Basically, take care and good hunting !

Most of the short stories were published in Annuals and other books.
Although details are given under the appropriate title in the Publications section, I have made a list of the book titles and the Monica Edwards works they contain.
Click here to go to the list.

Similarly I have added a list of Foreign Editions.

This page is part of the Monica Edwards Website. To enter this site by the front door, click here.
Created by John Allsup
Created on 4th May 2001 last updated July 2013