I’m not going to pretend that I have read every word that Jack London wrote during his brilliant career. Has anyone actually done that, I wonder? But I can honestly say that even before picking up Bybliotech’s e-book version of The Complete Jack London, I was familiar with many of the author’s novels and short stories, plus fragments from some of his biographical memoirs. I suppose that is why I was so intrigued when I first saw the “complete” Jack London in one huge e-book volume.
Now that I’ve spent some time reading from The Complete Jack London, I think that publishing the complete works of classic authors in single volumes is a brilliant idea – especially when those collections are made available at as reasonable a price as the London book is being sold at. Think about it for a second: 22 novels, 214 short stories, 43 poems, 6 plays, plus all of London’s letters, memoirs, and other non-fiction. All right there just waiting to be read at your leisure.
Best of all, though, think about how massive a printed version of this collection would be, how many volumes that would entail and what it would cost just to cover the expense of producing it. Now picture it sitting on your e-reader, all properly indexed so that all you have to do is click on any of the links from the Table of Contents in order to instantly have access to your chosen title. Huge, huge difference, and while I usually choose printed books over e-books, this is one time that I have to concede that e-books win hands down.
The only problem I have with something that markets itself as “complete” is that I have to take the publisher’s word for whether anything is missing or left out for whatever reasons. I’m no Jack London scholar, and I don’t have the time or the inclination to do a lot of research to figure this out. All I can say is that if the collection is not complete, it contains more than enough reading to keep me Jack-London-satisfied for the rest of my life.