Are You a Print Junkie?

Are you looking for an obscure novel?  Did the out-of-print Oxford World Classics edition of Mary Augusta Ward’s Robert Elsmere have minuscule print?

I ended up reading the e-book, but I am still a print junkie. And so I ordered a nice, if expensive, print-on-demand copy of Robert Elsmere  (Victorian Secrets, $30.00) with a scholarly introduction, footnotes, and appendixes.  I need this for a reread.

I love Robert Elsmere (1888),  which deals with the  religious crises caused partly by Darwin’s Theory of Evolution.   The subject sounds dry, but Ward’s well-drawn characters and expert plotting keep you turning the pages.  The hero, Robert, a clergyman who loses his faith, transports his family from a country vicarage to a poor neighborhood in London. While he does social work, his wife Catherine, a devout Christian, must bear the brunt of urban poverty.  The women characters, including Catherine’s sister, a violinist, are especially striking in this 19th-century best-seller, which sold  30,000-40,000 copies in England and 300,000 copies in the U.S. by 1889.

I have made another foray into print-on demand.  I look forward to reading  Charlotte M. Yonge’s The Daisy Chain (Norilana Books Classics, $19.95), which has an introduction by Diana Birchall, whom you may know as the author of two witty Austen sequels and the blog Light, Bright, and Sparkling.

I loved Yonge’s The Clever Woman of the Family (Virago). And  Diana mentioned in an email or at an online group (I think it was Diana!) that The Daisy Chain is a bit like Little Women.

Free e-books are available for many obscure books and have, I imagine, replaced POD.  The POD editions are not quite as nice as “real” books, and one has to return the ones with tiny print and no margins. Has anyone here had good or bad experiences with POD?  Is it completely out-of-fashion?