London: Smith Elder, 1905. Unrecorded Times Book Club edition. Hardcover. This unusual printing was offered through the The Times (London) as part of the newly formed Times Book Club, organized by Horace Everett Hooper and C. F. Moberly Bell in 1905. The Book Club was set up to run a circulating library, its main aim to increase Times circulation, which it did. Subscribers paid 3 pounds 18s per year, on the promise that a subscriber would get "the books he asked for on the very day he asked for them" (Publisher's Weekly, 1906, Vol. 70, p1304). When the books became "second-hand", they were to be sold to the subscribers at reduced prices.
This would be one of those copies. It is in a slightly different binding than the first edition, with a Times Book Club crest on the lower spine and without the gilt medallion on the front cover. After careful comparison with a first edition, these sheets appear to be identical to the first run of 3,000 copies. The sheets are trimmed at the foredge and base making this copy slightly smaller than a Smith Elder first edition. The typeface on the spine differs and there is a flat tooled line at the top and bottom of the spine and boards (gilt on the spine, blind on the boards.)
The Book Club commenced in 1905 and the publication date of "Discovery" was 12th October 1905. The Book Club, and Horace Hooper's tenure at The Times as advertising director ended in 1908, with the arrival of the new proprietor, Lord Northcliffe, who was a substantial contributor to the "Discovery" expedition.
In 36 years of specializing in Polar books, we have never had a London Times Book Club edition. We have seen copies with the Times Book Club sticker within, but not this binding. This binding is not recorded in Rosove, but conforms to Rosove 286. A1 within.
8vo, 2 volumes: 556pp, photogravure frontispiece from a drawing by Dr. Wilson, 7 color plates, 1 double page plate, 119 b&w mostly photographic illustrations, illustrations in text, 3 maps (&) 508pp, photogravure portrait, 6 color plates, 4 double page plates, 124 b&w mostly photographic illustrations, index, 2 maps. Contains both maps in the back pockets. Scattered light foxing in both volumes. With no advertisements at the rear, no extra slips and no dust wrapper, conforms to Rosove 286. Top edges gilt. Spines slightly sunned, a bit ruffled at spine head of Volume I. Good +. Item #22629