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The Oxford English Dictionary (20 Volume Set) (Vols 1-20) Hardcover – 1989
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This is a complete set previously owned by a library, with the library's reference stickers still on the lower part of the spine. The binding is tight, and there is a clear protective jacket on the boards. Pages are crisp and clean. This set includes the full 20 volumes of the Oxford English Dictionary- Second Edition, in addition to three volumes of Oxford English Dictionary Additions Series- An A-Z presentation of new work-in-progress supplementing the Oxford English Dictionary.
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I also appreciate Amazon's decision to start shipping this by means of a special carrier; it weighs 140 pounds. There have been a number of reviews that suggested there has been a problem shipping this product complete or undamaged. However...
(Sigh...) Somebody on a forklift got little too close to the side of the box in which this set was shipped. As a result, Volumes 10, 12 and 18 have gashes though the dust jackets and the covers are gouged. (I'm about to find out just how good Amazon's ability to replace parts of a set is...)
Perhaps Amazon could recommend to their vendor that placing this set in a reinforced box or a crate would be a good idea. After all, this is such a unique item that it is going to become, in anyone's home, a family heirloom.
There is no reason to add to the superlatives others have used to describe this. I am including the measurements because I wanted them for preparing for its arrival, but the measurements given by Amazon are not very useful.
Each volume is 9 1/2 inches wide and 12 3/8 inches tall and 2 inches thick. Placed on a shelf together, ten volumes measure 22 1/4 inches wide. My glass door bookshelves from IKEA are 10 1/4 inches deep and my oak bookshelves from Fred Myers in Oregon are 10 3/4 inches deep.
In addition to the astounding content, the books are physically beautiful. One of the boxes was severely damaged, even half open, but the books did not have the tiniest blemish on them. The printing, the binding, everything about them is worthy of the content, that is, every word and every meaning and every worthwhile reference of the greatest language in the history of the world.
If you are looking for a working dictionary rather than a research tool, I would recommend the 2 volume shorter OED abridged. Some reviewers have indicated the online addition is a viable option and more readable. I researched and it seemed the annual online subscription is more than this addition costs. So I took the leap and I am not disappointed. (except for the defective magnifier -- a book this expensive shouldn't have quality control problems)