English-language editions of The Hobbit

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Main article: The Hobbit

This list contains only complete, printed English-language editions of The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien. It is not for derived or unprinted works such as screenplays, graphic novels, or audio books.

Criteria for separate editions[edit]

For this list, a printing is a separate edition if any of the following criteria is met:

  • The publisher declares it to be a new edition.
  • Substantial changes to the text have been introduced beyond correcting typographical errors.
  • A publisher prints the basic design for the first time.
  • The dust jacket or cover design has changed appreciably.
  • The height or width of the book has changed.
  • The binding materials have changed.

Criteria for variants[edit]

For this list, a printing is a variant of a separate edition if both it is not a separate edition itself and also any of the following criteria is met:

  • Inconspicuous marks or annotations declare it to be from a different publisher than an edition it is otherwise identical to (e.g., book club edition).
  • Some internal illustrations appear as color instead of black-and-white, or vice versa.
  • Some small change has been made in the design of the book or its binding or dust jacket without affecting the whole design.

A printing is 'not' a separate edition or variant solely because of any of the following:

  • Binding color changed.
  • Dust jacket color scheme changed but design remained the same.
  • Typographical errors were corrected.

Other definitions[edit]

Numbered pages means the page number of the last page of the story itself, regardless of whether the page number actually appears on the page. It does not include end papers or advertisement pages, even if they are numbered.

Described English-language editions[edit]

No. Identifier Description Variants
1 AU1937 George Allen & Unwin LTD of London, 1937 Light green cloth binding over boards, imprinted with stylized Misty Mountains scene in deep blue ink along the top, all the way around, and a dragon at the bottom, both front and back. Dust jacket in green, black, dark blue, and white, showing a drawing of stylized mountains with the moon and eagles soaring above, a forest, and a river. End paper maps in red, black, and white. All artwork by Tolkien. 14.0 × 19.6 cm, 310 numbered pages.
  1. Second printing (1937) converted four plates to color.
2 HM1938

Houghton Mifflin Co. of Boston & New York, 1938. Tan cloth binding over boards, imprinted with a bowing hobbit in red to the upper right of the title on the front. Dust jacket in blue with the Hobbiton frontispiece in color in front. Title page shows outline of the same bowing hobbit as on the cover. All artwork by Tolkien. No half-title page. Chapter VII mis-labeled as Chapter VI; List of Illustrations mistakenly lists Thror's map to be at the front, where the text declares it to be. 15.1 × 21.0 cm, 310 numbered pages.

  1. Title page bowing hobbit insignia was changed to the publisher's device of a seated flautist in second printing. Date unknown. Half-title page added. List of Illustrations places Thrór's map at rear.
  2. Chapter VII heading corrected from "Chapter VI". Date unknown.
  3. Buckram style "C", and maps on roughly calendered stock. Date unknown.
  4. Buckram style "D", and maps on roughly calendered stock. Date unknown.
  5. Orange library binding, silk screen of original American dust jacket in black outline. Binding may apply to any printing.
3 AU1942 George Allen & Unwin LTD of London, 1942. Similar to AU1937 but smaller. Color plates have been removed except for the frontispiece. 13.0 × 19.0 cm, 310 numbered pages.
4 CB1942 The Children's Book Club of London, 1942. Same sheets as AU1942 but no maps and no frontispiece. Yellow cloth over boards, title on spine only. Dust jacket in white and orange, displaying a dandified hobbit. 13.0 × 18.8 cm, 310 numbered pages.
5 AU1951 George Allen & Unwin LTD of London, 1951. Covers and dust jacket in same art as AU1937 but size has changed. Tolkien modified the story (particularly Riddles in the Dark) to match what The Lord of the Rings had evolved into. Color frontispiece; otherwise black-and-white illustrations, as with AU1942. This is the first printing of the second edition and the fifth printing overall. Printings through the 15th occasionally change printing signatures, correct typographical errors, and add advertising for other Tolkien books. 13.0 × 19.0 cm, 315 numbered pages.
6 HM1951

Houghton Mifflin Co. of Boston and New York, 1951. Identical sheets, illustrations, and binding as AU1951. Only the spines of the book and dust jacket have changed to name the publisher.

7 HM1954

Houghton Mifflin Co. of Boston and New York, 1954. Identical sheets and illustrations as the 6th UK printing (second printing of AU1951), but the binding reverted to a design similar to HM1938, only smaller and without the bowing hobbit insignia on the front cover. Unlike the corresponding UK edition, the American covers changed color roughly every printing, though samples can be found with sheets from one UK printing and binding color prevalent on a neighboring US printing. Unlike the UK impressions, most of the US printings of the second edition did not declare the impression on the reverse of the title page, making them difficult to identify. 13.0 × 19.0 cm, 315 numbered pages.

8 PB1961 Penguin Books, 1961. (From the Puffin Books series.) Paperback with illustration of the adventurers in the Misty Mountains passes during the storm, by Pauline Baynes. All illustrations have been removed, and the maps are printed in black-and-white. 11 × 17.9 cm, 284 numbered pages.
9 HM1964

Houghton Mifflin Co. of Boston, 1964? Covers and dust jacket similar to HM1954, but cover is light green and does not vary in successive printings. Color frontispiece removed, and the red from the end paper maps has changed to black. There is no color left within the book at all. These comprise the US 15th through 23rd printings, with sheets printed in the US. Format has enlarged to 13.8 × 21 cm. 315 numbered pages.

10 BB1965 Ballantine Books, Inc., of New York, 1965. Paperback with fanciful illustration of Hobbiton in an oval frame with emus and a lion in the foreground. Cover art by Barbara Remington. Maps in black and white; no internal illustrations. 10.5 × 17.7 cm, 287 numbered pages.
  1. On the 6th printing, Ballantine airbrushed out the lion on the cover because it greatly irritated Tolkien.
11 UB1966 Unwin Books of London, 1966. Paper jacket on stiff paper with Tolkien's color pencil illustration of Smaug over Lake Town. Maps in black and white; no other illustrations. 12.2 × 18.4 cm, 271 numbered pages.
12 AU1966 Allen & Unwin of London, 1966. Cloth on boards. Similar in design and format to AU1937a, but this is the third edition and also the 16th impression counting from AU1937. As in AU1937a, four color plates, and end paper maps in black, white, and red. Similar dust-jacket to AU1937. 12.2 × 18.4 cm, 317 numbered pages.
13 HM1968 Houghton Mifflin Company of Boston, 1968. Very similar in design and format to HM1965, but this is the third edition text based on AU1966. As in HM1965, no color illustrations, and maps in black and white. 13.8 × 21 cm, 317 numbered pages.
14 HM1973 Houghton Mifflin Company of Boston, 1973. Forest green simulated leather boards with red and gold gilt runic inscription around the periphery in front and a stylized road-going-into-forest-in-front-of-mountains illustration in gold gilt a little above center. Matching slipcase in simulated leather with the same cover illustration on a paste-down in green, black, and yellow. Printed on heavy paper. All original illustrations from HM1938 restored, including color plates. Black-and-white illustrations printed as black-and-green, maps in black and green, and each page neatline is in green. 18 × 23.5 cm, 317 numbered pages.
  1. Book-of-the-Month edition, distinguished by annotation on the copyright page.
15 BB1973 Ballantine Books, Inc., of New York, 1973. Continuation of BB1965. Cover art has changed to Tolkien's illustration of Bilbo Comes to the Huts of the Raft-elves.
16 AU1976 George Allen & Unwin LTD, of London, 1976. Deluxe edition of The Hobbit. Gold inlaid dragon on black covers. Title page states George Allen & Unwin LTD, and the frontispiece is Tolkien's rendition of Hobbiton in color.
  1. A variant binding, corresponding to FS1979, has been seen occasionally. The run may have been a mistake or contingency printing. The printing run seems to have been small.
17 HA1977 Harry N. Abrams, Inc., of New York, 1977. Illustrations by Lester Abrams et al., from the 1977 Rankin/Bass Productions, Inc., animated film. All illustrations in full color, some fold-out. Illustrations printed directly on the front and back boards: (front) the company in the Misty Mountains during the storm; (back) Smaug's treasure. Clear acetate jacket overlays the book title and author onto the boards' illustrations and augments the cover illustrations with Smaug's image. In the front, he's flying around the mountain to attack the company, even though the illustration is of the Misty Mountains, not the Lonely Mountain. On the rear, Smaug lies on his hoard. Bilbo's ghostly image appears in the foreground. 29.4 × 27.7 cm, 220 numbered pages.
18 GP1978 Guild Publishing of London, 1978. Illustrations by Tolkien. 4th edition text. Burgundy, full imitation leather, elaborate gold gilt. No bookmark ribbon. Free end-paper maps in black, white, and red; other illustrations in black and white. No slipcase or dust jacket. 14.0 × 21.5 cm, 255 numbered pages.
19 FS1979 The Folio Society of London, 1979. Illustrations by Eric Fraser. 3rd edition text. Burgundy leather quarter-bound with remainder in burgundy cloth on boards. Gold gilt "maze" pattern on front and spine. End-paper maps in black, white and red; other illustrations in black and white. Light gray-green slipcase. 15 × 22.8 cm, 245 numbered pages.
  1. An edition in identical binding appeared with content apparently corresponding to the 1976 deluxe edition published by George Allen & Unwin LTD. See AU1976a.
20 BB1981 Ballantine Books, Inc., of New York, 1981. Continuation of BB1965. Cover art has changed to Darrell K. Sweet's illustration of The Lord of the Eagles.
21 EP1984 Easton Press of Norwalk, Connecticut, 1984. Probably from the same sheets as HM1973 with margins trimmed. Frontispiece illustration by Michael Hague showing the company in the foreground and The Lonely Mountain in the background; otherwise all illustrations and maps are as described for HM1973. Full leather covers; ribbed spine; gold-leaf edges all around; tipped-in bookmark; gold gilt runic lettering on front cover. 14.8 × 22.5 cm, 317 numbered pages.
22 BB1985 Ballantine Books, Inc., of New York, 1985. Continuation of BB1965. Cover art has reverted to Tolkien's illustration of Bilbo Comes to the Huts of the Raft-elves, but framed and shrunk down comparatively.
23 HM1987 Houghton Mifflin Company of Boston, 1987. 50th Anniversary Edition. Similar in design to HM1973, but covers and slipcase are in gold instead of green, and the front cover illustration is a "50" in green. All monochrome illustrations, including maps, in gold and black instead of green and black. Color plates same as HM1973. Foreword by Christopher Tolkien describes the history of the writing and publication of The Hobbit.
  1. Book-of-the-Month Club edition, distinguished by annotation on copyright page.
24 EL1987 ELT Publishing of Hamburg, 1987. Fourth Edition, 21st impression Unwin Paperbacks sheets bound by ELT. Paperback. Cover illustration by Jan Buchholz & Reni Hinsch.
25 UH1988 Unwin Hyman of London etc., 1988. The Annotated Hobbit. Extensively annotated text by Douglas A. Anderson. Black cloth binding on boards. Purple dust jacket framed in black, with centerpiece title above a copy of the original dust jacket. Interior illustrations culled from most extant editions, especially foreign-language. Annotations include all significant changes to the text from the 1937 original. It also includes "The Quest of Erebor", first published in Unfinished Tales. 22.0 × 28.8 cm, 335 numbered pages.
26 HM1988 Houghton Mifflin Company of Boston, 1988. American edition of UH1988. Blue paper binding on boards. Dust jacket is an enlargement of the original 1937 dust jacket. Interior same as UH1988.
27 GB1989 Galahad Books of New York, 1989. Red cloth binding over boards. Smaller reprint of HA1977 with similar dust jacket art but on paper. 27.2 × 22.9 cm, 220 numbered pages.
28 HM1989 Houghton Mifflin Company of Boston, 1989. Paperback. Illustrated by Michael Hague. Orange front cover lettered in green; illustrated with Smaug on his hoard. Purportedly the first softcover edition to be illustrated. 48 full-color scenes. 304 pages. ISBN 0-395-52021-5.
29 FS1997 The Folio Society of London, 1997. Illustrations by Eric Fraser. 3rd edition text. Red vegetable parchment on boards. Gold gilt "celtic" pattern on outside, with block design by Francis Mosley featuring dragon head breathing fire on front. End-paper maps in black, white and brown; other illustrations in black and white. Burgundy slipcase. Caxton wove paper. 15 × 22.8 cm, 245 numbered pages.
30 HM1997 Houghton Mifflin Company of Boston & New York, 1997. Paperback of 60th Anniversary Edition. Cover illustration by Alan Lee shows Gandalf and Bilbo standing beside a river with a bridge in the background. Cover design by Steve Cooley which is primarily colored dark orange. Included are Thror's Map on the first two facing pages and the Map of Wilderland on the last two facing pages. Notes on the text by Douglas A. Anderson, 7 December 1994. ISBN 0-618-00221-9. Available by itself or part of 4vo The Lord of the Rings box set. 4th printing. 272 numbered pages.
31 HC1998 HarperCollins Publishers UK, 1998. Paperback with John Howe's Smaug illustration on front cover. Other illustrations by David Wyatt. New reset edition. Published in hardback in 1995. Preluded by a note on the text by Douglas A. Anderson. ISBN 978-0-00-675402-2. Published in the United States in 1999, ISBN 0-261-10221-4. 310 numbered pages.
32 HC1999 HarperCollins Publishers UK, 1999. Leather-bound de luxe hardback edition in a slipcase. Front cover is plain black with a gold gilt image of the dragon in the center. Inside front cover (endpaper 1) there is the illustration of Mirkwood. Map of Wilderland on the inside rear cover (endpaper 2). 14.3 ×22.2 cm. ISBN 978-0-261-10257-6.
33 HM2001 Houghton Mifflin Company of Boston, 2001. Edition for young readers features large margins and increased text size. Dust jacket features artwork by Peter Sis. On the front is a 3x3 grid of scenes from the story. On the back is Sis's version of Tolkien's Map of Wilderland. Text is based on Collins Modern Classics version of 1998 with some new corrections as explained in a note on the text by Douglas A. Anderson, May 2001. Book features Tolkien's black and white illustrations on the inside. Hardcover ISBN 0-618-16221-6. Paperback ISBN 0-618-15082-X. 330 numbered pages.
34 HC2004 HarperCollins Publishers UK, 2004. Fourth impression of HC1999. Green book spine cover. Front cover is plain grey with a red and gold gilt image of the dragon at the lower edge and a runic symbol in the center. 14.3 ×22.2 cm. ISBN 978-0-00-711835-9.
35 HM2007 Houghton Mifflin Company of Boston & New York, 2007. Published by HarperCollins Publishers, 2007. This is the 70th Anniversary hardcover edition. The text of this edition is based on that published by HarperCollins Publishers in 1995. Dust jacket is an enlargement of the original 1937 dust jacket. However, on the front cover there is a red sun over the mountains, and there is a drawing of Smaug in red in the sky with a crescent moon on the back cover. Black paper over boards. Inside front cover (endpaper 1) is Thror's Map in black and red ink. Inside rear cover (endpaper 2) is the Map of Wilderland in blue ink. Preface is excerpted from the forward to The Hobbit 50th Anniversary Edition by Christopher Tolkien published in 1987. Notes on the text by Douglas A. Anderson from 2001. Chapter 1 of The Fellowship of the Ring, "A Long-Expected Party", appears as an appendix. ISBN 0-618-96863-6. 1st printing Sept. 2007. Bottom right corner of front cover flap has "0907". 276 numbered pages.
36 HC2008 HarperCollins Publishers UK, 2008. Paperback edition with illustrations by Alan Lee. The front cover shows an image of Smaug resting on his hoard. Thror's Map and the Map of Wilderland are the same as HM2007. 13.0 × 19.7 cm. ISBN 978-0-00-727061-3.
37 HC2012/1 HarperCollins Publishers UK, 7 June 2012. Paperback featuring a drawn cover image similar to one of the film teaser posters for Peter Jackson's 2012 film The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, showing Bilbo from behind as he steps out of the door of his Hobbit hole. Front cover contains a line: "International children's bestseller". The maps of Wilderland and Mirkwood are included in the appendix. 13 × 19.7 cm. ISBN 978-0-00-745842-4.
38 HC2012/2 HarperCollins Publishers UK, 30 August 2012. Paperback film tie-in edition with the actual cover image from the film teaser poster depicting Martin Freeman as Bilbo. Front cover headline reads: "Now a major motion picture". Preface by Douglas A. Anderson and illustrations by David Wyatt from HC1998. Chapter 1 of The Fellowship of the Ring, "A Long-Expected Party", appears as an appendix. 13 × 19.7 cm. ISBN 978-0-00-748728-8. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2012, ISBN 978-0-547-84497-8.
  1. Random House Publishing Group mass market edition (2012) has a film poster cover image that is slightly tilted to the right. ISBN 978-0-345-53483-5.
HM2012 Houghton Mifflin Harcourt/Mariner Books, 18 September 2012. Paperback 75th anniversary edition with a front cover referencing the original 1937 cover layout, but with golden mountains and birds, and red sun on a black and dark blue background. Chapter 1 of The Fellowship of the Ring, "A Long-Expected Party," appears as an appendix. 13.8 × 21 cm. ISBN 978-0-547-92822-7.
39 HC2012/3 HarperCollins Publishers UK, 8 November 2012. Hardback special collector’s film tie-in edition. Includes new reproductions of all illustrations and maps by Tolkien. Grey front cover shows a graphic with brownish trees against a silhouette of mountains and a golden sky. 15.3 × 22.1 cm. ISBN 978-0-00-748730-1.

Other known English-language editions[edit]

  • English language edition annotated for Russian students of English.
  • BCA Publishing edition of 1992. Quarterbound with gilded lettering on spine and raised ribbing.
  • Alan Lee illustrations, 60th anniversary edition, 1997
  • HarperCollins Alan Lee illustrations, 2000, published for Dealerfield Ltd. Pictorial laminated boards. Almost certainly just a variant of 1997 Alan Lee.
  • Michael Hague illustrations, hardcover
  • Unwin 4th edition
  • Del Rey paperback with cover matched to Peter Jackson's films
  • 1999 HarperCollins DeLuxe edition
  • "Collins Modern Classics", Title on front shifted left of center
  • Thorndike Press Large Print Basic Series, 483 pages.
  • Unwin early 80s mass-market paperback with Smaug on his hoard, "The Hobbit" over a rust-colored background rectangle
  • Harper Collins Limited Editions Collectors' Box with CD, fold-out map, etc. 2000.
  • Unwin Hyman 1987 50th anniversary
  • Black softcover with red dragon at bottom on front and runes in circle in middle
  • Ballantine 1987 paperback 50th anniversary edition (with or without 50th anniversary note); Bilbo and Gollum on cover, cover illustration by Michael Herring.
  • Ballantine 1978 film art edition, softcover edition of HA1977 Rankin/Bass animation.
  • Late 1990s Ballantine softcover with "natural" scene of Gandalf in foreground, bridge in background, river flowing to foreground, forest on the right.
  • 3D pop-up edition illustrated by John Howe
  • Houghton Mifflin hardcover 4th edition, 255 pages, with Tolkien illustrations, but dust jacket shows Smaug on his hoard and vases, cups, and chalices in the foreground.
  • 1970 The Hobbit "Pleasure in Reading" edition. 279 pages. Australian edition? Complete?
  • Ballantine paperback edition with "The Greatest Epic Fantasy of Our Time" on green background; Gandalf approaching Bag End; 305 pages.
  • 1972 English edition printed in Taiwan.
  • Newer version of EB1990 with new cover art