Worst Book Reprints

  1. Kessinger Publishing’s reprint of The Unmasking of Robert-Houdin
  • HOUDINI, Harry. The Unmasking of Robert-Houdin. N.p.: Kessinger Publishing.  1908, 2007 (?).  332 pp. Kessinger edition. Cover | Full Title
Darkened pages

Inconsistent reproduction brightness

Kessinger Publishing appears to make a business of no-frills republishing of out-of-copyright material.  A search on amazon shows many not-quite-cheap-enough Houdini titles.  This one takes the cake, however.

I counted 10 pages with some sort of contrast/brightness error in the reproduction (see inset).

Ex-Library Markings

Ex-"Stanford Library" markings

The copy being reproduced clearly came from the Stanford Library as evidenced by the reproduction of library markings int the text.

Thankfully, it contains no new information.  They couldn’t even be bothered with a new title or copyright page. The only real work needed to be done by Kessinger was creation of a cover, by filling in a template they use in all their reprints…And in those 7 words unique to this book they managed to introduce a typo:

Kessinger reprint of The Unmasking of Robert-Houdin

  1. Magico reprint of Herrmann the Magician

2 Burlingame Editions

  • (right) BURLINGAME. H[ardin]. J. Herrmann the Magician: His Life; His Secrets. Chicago: Laird & Lee. 1897. 298 pp. True first edition. Cover | Full Title
  • (Left) BURLINGAME. H[ardin]. J. Herrmann the Magician: His Life; His Secrets. New York: Magico. 2007. 295 pp. With a new introduction by Barrie Richardson and essay “A Bibliographic Study” by Byron Walker. Cover | Full Title

A frustratingly bad reprint of an old favorite.  No attempt was made to match the original binding size or cover ink color.  The text is filled with OCR errors.  But most egregious of all, as with the first example, Herrmann’s name is misspelled on the cover!  Unfortunately, Byron Walker’s 3-page essay “A Brief Bibliographic Study” with points of issue for each edition makes this a must-have.  (It’s the only reason I know that I own the “true” first edition.)

Have contenders to add?  Please describe in the comments!


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