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HaBO Update: Classics of Romance Edition

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Back in March 2021, librarian HeatherS emailed us about the Classics of Romance hardcover edition:

I purchased this signed hardcover copy of Skye O’Malley by Bertrice Small about 3 years ago in a used bookstore. It was published in 1996. I thought it was an interesting and unusual edition and think it might have been a special order-by-mail book club of some kind.

Any help you or the community can give me would be much appreciated. I’m sure this isn’t the only copy out there!

Well, get ready, we have an update from Heather!

I wanted to follow up with you on the Classics of Romance HaBO you posted for me a while back.

I haven’t been able to find out anything else about the line yet, but I have enlisted the Browne Popular Culture Library for aid.

I got the two books mentioned in the comments, so now I have 3 titles total.

Pink ribbon bookmarks and inset cover art for all, though only the original Bertrice Small is signed.

The search for info and/or more books in this series continues!

Are you ready for some pictures? An overheard view of three hardcover books in green dark blue and light blue leather with gold foil stamps


They look like a cross between romances and library reference books or bound periodical collections.


A stack of hardcover romances with blue and green colored leather an gold foil stamping stacked so the spines are visible

But hot diggity, we have stepbacks.

The Flame and the Flower title page with author Kathleen Woodiwiss, the Romance Collections script logo, and then a stepback image of a cliffside with giant purple clouds and two people standing in the wind with the woman in a square necked blue gown with a lot of white ruffles and a black cape billowing behind her with a man standing three quarters behind her in a giant white puffy shirt like I could live in the sleeves they are so big

Seize the Fire title page with title author Laura Kinsale and the Romance Classics script logo and a stepback showing a very muscular white man behind a blonde white woman and they're probably supposed to be conveying ecstasy but it makes them look like they have gas cramps

So! Much! MULLET!

Aren’t those cool? I am so curious to know if more were made.

I asked Heather if she’d heard of any others in the series, and she says they’re very hard to find: “I haven’t been able to find anything about them at all. It’s like they never existed… but they do, since they’re on my bookshelf. They aren’t in WorldCat or Goodreads, either.”

Oooh, mysterious edition is mysterious-er!

It also strikes me as very interesting that many of the Kickstarters of custom or collector’s editions of romances (I did a podcast about this with Katee Robert and Lucy Eden) are producing intricate and elegant hardcovers like these.

I know the hard bound editions of much loved books are very popular with YA readers, especially in special collector’s boxes or subscription services, too. (And don’t get me started on how much I loved the art for the Subterranean Press Murderbot edition).

What romance would you want a collector’s edition of? 

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