Variations & Errors

This page lists all the variations and errors I have found during my collecting of the New Canadian Library. As I find them I will add them. As this page grows, I will organize the information into more precise categories. Here is what I have discovered so far.


In Series One Main Books I found two different covers for Such Is My Beloved:

In the Series One “O” books, I found two different front covers for Poets of the Confederation:

In Series Two, some of the titles have a variant where the lettering is different. Also the back cover looks similar to the front rather than having a portrait drawing of the author. These variants seems to have been published at an earlier date than their more easily found later editions, therefore it is not to presumptuous to guess that they were the first entries when the books changed cover design from Series One. Below are all of the titles I have found of this type with their more popular covers beside for comparison.

Here is a cover the same as the ones above but I haven’t been able to find the more common cover as of yet. When I do I will add it and the image below to the three sets above.

Odysseus Ever Returning Variation

Odysseus Ever Returning Variation

Here are examples of another Series Two variation that is similar to the above examples but with the design reversed for the author’s name and book title both on the front cover and spine. You will also see that white was used instead of black for the spine lettering and the numerical identification on the top of the front cover:

I would like to thank Cameron Anstee for sending me The Second Scroll image above and pointing out to me its existence.

Here is a Series Two/Series Three Hybrid. When M&S changed printers from T.H. Best (Series Two) to Webcom (Series Three), Webcom printed some of the last Series Two books which had elements of the Series Three design, especially on the spine. We must assume that the NCL Series Three design was still being finalized at the time of the printing of this book:

Around the time that Series Two was issued there was this variant that looked like the NCL’s attempt at making their cover design look like the Penguin Classics of the same period. The Penguins cover design was dominated by the colour of black. This NCL variant copies that idea:

As for Me and My House black cover variant

As for Me and My House black cover variant

Here is a tie-in to a play called The Wonderful World of Sarah Binks starring Eric Donkin. The NCL book shows an image of Donkin in his role as Miss Rosalind Drool, a Sarah Binks enthusiast. This book has no indication that it is a NCL book on the cover or spine, it’s when you check the title page inside that you see it is an NCL book. I would like to thank Stephen Novik for informing me of the existence of this book.

Sarah Binks Play Tie-In Variation

Sarah Binks Play Tie-In Variation

If we move over to Series Three, I found two different front covers for a single book. In Series Three, the editors decided to create a set of “classics” within the regular series. They would look slightly different than the regular books in that the book title would be in gold rather than in various other colours. Also the ticker tape that runs across the top center of the front cover would be a bit larger, in gold rather than black, and state New Canadian Library Classic rather than just New Canadian Library. Here are the two front covers I found:


In Series One I found an error in numbering. Sunshine Sketches of Little Town by Stephen Leacock is numbered 15 in the series yet I found it as number 13 in the book below:

Sunshine Sketches Numbering Error

Sunshine Sketches Numbering Error

In Series Three I found an error in numbering for Leonard Cohen’s Beautiful Losers. It’s numbered 153 in the library but my copy has it numbered at 158:

Beautiful Losers Numbering Error

Beautiful Losers Numbering Error

Also in Series Three is a numbering error for Lord Nelson Tavern by Ray Smith. It is numbered 158 in the library but my copy has it at 53:

Lord Nelson Tavern Numbering Error

Lord Nelson Tavern Numbering Error

9 thoughts on “Variations & Errors

  1. I understand your first point (I read your article) that the first name of M. Graham was incorrectly spelled, but as to your point about Mr. Roberts I have to admit I’m lost. Do you mean the error was actually including the book in the library in the first place?

    -The Ignorant Intellectual

  2. I should’ve explained. NCL’s Canadians of Old is a reprint of The Canadians of Old, a translation of Philippe-Joseph Aubert de Gaspe’sLes Anciens Canadiens. For some strange reason, NCL not only botches the title, but attributes the novel to translator Charles G.D. Roberts on the cover and spine. As I see it, this is akin to issuing Crime and Punishment as a novel by Constance Garnett.

    If interested, I’ve written more about this cock-up here:

  3. Ok, I understand now. I read the article. You are a bit irked at the NCL disrespecting Gaspé by attributing his novel to Roberts, when Roberts was only the translator. as for the omission of the “The” in the title, seems just a casualty of translating Les Anciens Canadiens into English. I suppose they could have translated it as The Canadians of Old, but the discrepancy seems minor to me.

    – The Ignorant Intellectual

  4. That’s it, II, though I think it should be pointed out that it was NCL that got the title wrong; Roberts titled his translation The Canadians of Old, not Canadians of Old. Just another example of NCL sloppiness, I’m afraid.

  5. I’ve got a further (minor) variation on the second series variation you describe above. Send me an email (cameron.anstee(at) and I’ll send along some images.

  6. I have a copy of Paul Hiebert’s “Sarah Binks” that nowhere on the front or back cover nor the spine suggests it’s a NCL edition. It is black with a b/w photo of actor Eric Donkin as “Miss Rosalind Drool” from a comic presentation entitled ‘The Wonderful World of Sarah Binks’, produced by Albert St. Productions of Stratford, ON. Only on the title page does it indicate its number (44). Included is an introduction by A. Lloyd Wheeler. This cover image can be found at; (I found it through google chrome search for “Sarah Binks” since my front cover got ruined by a horrible attempt to remove the library’s tag) Yeah, I purchased a library’s discarded copy. Still have yet to read it, though it looks kind of interesting, it’s about poetry, and I’m a poet as well.

  7. This book looks like it was a tie-in to the play back in the late 70’s called The Wonderful World of Sarah Binks starring Eric Donkin as you said. I guess the one-man play was popular enough for M&S to publish a special cover for the Sarah Binks book in order to garner some extra sales. I will add it to the Variations & Errors page when I do the same for a Series Two/Three hybrid cover I found recently. Thanks for pointing this book out.

  8. Back in 1984,I bought a copy of Sarah Binks with the tie-in cover for a university class. Sadly, I don’t have it anymore. That said, I remember the font featured on the spine as being that used on the third series. This, combined with the year, make me wonder whether there was ever an edition that used the third series cover design. It occurs to me that I’ve never seen one.

    The Clara Thomas cover is like something from an alternate universe. As a lone work of criticism in what is with cry few exceptions a series devoted to fiction, I’d already considered the book an odd inclusion.

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