A Library of America (LOA) Shipment

America's finest literature club has a consistent packaging process

The Library of America (LOA) is a nonprofit American publisher established in 1979 with the very narrow and specific goal of publishing classic American works. It was long the goal of the established literary critic Edmund Wilson that a publisher would republish and keep in print an American canon. That's the avowed goal of LOA - every title it publishes will be kept in print perpetually.

Part of its brand is that it obviously only publishes American works. The other part is that every single book in the series has the same trim size, same font, and the only variation is in the number of pages and the color of the covers. The pages are acid-free, and in general, the books are designed to last generations. You can purchase the volumes directly from pretty much any bookseller - LOA volumes are sold in two methods, via subscription or via retail. The retail volumes have a dust jacket, while the subscription volumes come in slipcases. The books themselves are identical. The other benefit of subscribing is that in recent years, LOA has begun including a "letter" of sorts that summarizes the volume.

I began my subscription to the Library of America with the special offer of Reporting World War II 1, Reporting World War II 2, and AJ Liebling's World War II Writings. I've remained a member ever since, and the packaging has always been consistent and sturdy. Over time, you'll come to recognize that little cardboard box anywhere:

When you open up a standard shipment, the invoice is usually on top of a single bubbled-air packet:

Underneath, you'll find your new LOA volume (with the new enclosed "letter" summarizing the volume shrinkwrapped on top of the book's slipcase. You should definitely keep these letters:

The LOA logo is stamped on all subscriber slipcases in gold foil (it's rather understated):

Here's a different shipment - you can see what's different with this one. From time to time, the LOA includes special mail-order postcards/flyers made out of stiff card. These trumpet special volumes outside of the normal LOA series and offers you, the subscriber, substanial discounts if purchased via this offer (also good online). This was the announcement of the two Edgar Rice Burroughs volumes - Tarzan and A Princess of Mars:

I haven't always kept these advertising inserts, but I've kept some of the "interesting" ones to me. If I was a true hoarder, I'd be holding onto every single piece of paper the LOA ever mailed to me.

(Originally written 7-Jun-2013)