I'd hate your books to go down the road of so many 'best-of' albums in the music industry, when to get stories we haven't got we have to buy loads of stories we already have.<snip> I'm sorry if my comments annoy those of you who worked so hard on SENTIMENT but I think I've got a valid point.
I didn't work on SENTIMENT so I don't have as much of a personal stake in it as Rob and Mark and Paul. But the point you raise is similar to the objections I heard about the BEST OF books from Del Rey. My question is this: Could you do a "Best of Led Zeppelin" album without "Stairway to Heaven"? Certainly every Zep fan has Led Zeppelin IV, and Lord knows the song is not hard to find. So if you were doing a "Best of Zep" album you'd leave it out, right? So that you could include another song that a few Zep fans might not have? But I'd argue that if you leave it out, you don't have a "Best of Zep" album.
LAST OF THE TRUNK was intended to include all of the material by REH that, at the time of its publication, had not yet been published. SENTIMENT is "An Olio of Rarer Works": primarily "juvenilia", but also some other stuff that hasn't appeared in many collections, hasn't been published often, etc. When we publish the boxing books (and there will be more than one, due to the volume of the material), you can bet that the boxing stuff from LAST OF THE TRUNK will be in it. Otherwise it would be incomplete.
It's not like we're just taking collections you already have, rearranging the contents, and making you pay a premium for only one story you didn't already have. (I have more than my fair share of such collections in my REH library.) We're trying to make available to REH fans and collectors a lot of the stuff that they want, but that has been hard or impossible to find for years. Look at the Steve Bender stories in SENTIMENT: we could have included only the ones that were not in LAST OF THE TRUNK, but then (a) you wouldn't have all the Steve Bender stories in one place and ( we'd be hearing from fans who want to read all the Steve Bender stories but didn't get a copy of LotT for some reason. (It's not like there's an endless supply of these things.)
So, I understand your pain, but I'm not sure that I see a good way to get around having to have some duplication in our books. SENTIMENT/LAST OF THE TRUNK is kind of an unusual case -- most books won't have that much duplication. But for every collector who already has all the previously published stuff, even the rarer chapbooks, there are probably a hundred who are missing large chunks of it. For every fan who wants only one copy of each Howard story, there are probably a hundred who like having all the stories of a given type, or featuring a given character, in one convenient location. We're having to satisfy a lot of different constituencies. If there's anything that I've learned from working on Howard books these past fifteen years or so, it's that you're not going to please everyone. And no matter which way you go, the guy who is not pleased is going to have a good point.