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Ivy and the Inky Butterfly will be released worldwide in just one week and I have been lucky enough to be sent a copy of the UK and US editions by Johanna Basford in order to write this comparison post for you all. Every time Johanna releases a new book there are huge online debates about which edition is “best” to buy, what the similarities will be and what will be different so I’m here to hopefully clear up any questions and queries you may have after the success of my comparison posts of the last 3 titles – Johanna’s Christmas, Magical Jungle, and Lost Ocean.
This is a long post because there are so many pictures included to illustrate each point but please bear with me because a lot of time and effort has gone into being as thorough as possible, if you’d prefer to watch a video where I talk through and show all of the differences then scroll all the way down to the bottom of the post. Most of the things I’ve noticed don’t affect the enjoyment or use of the book, they’re just differences but there are a few items that are fundamentally different and do affect use so keep an eye out for those, they’re summarised at the bottom. Some of the very noticeable differences include size, image size and paper type so here goes with the most comprehensive list of similarities and differences that you’re likely to find online!
- Book Size – Both books are rectangular and not square, they are each the same height as their country’s other Johanna titles but both are 4cms narrower at the side. The UK edition is almost half a centimetre smaller in both directions than the US edition.
- Cover Design – The cover design is very slightly zoomed in on the UK edition so the US edition has a little extra detail around the very edges that isn’t included on the UK copies.
- Penguin Logo – The US edition has the Penguin Publishing logo subtly placed in the top right corner, the UK edition has a star in this space instead.
- Cover Colour – The UK edition has a bright white cover, the US edition is slightly off-white though this is only noticeable when placed next to something truly white or the UK copy of the book.
- Foiling Colour – The UK foiling is a subtle coppery/bronze colour, it’s not gold like previous titles or as shiny. The US foiling is in gold and green and is very bright and shiny (try to avoid scratching it as it does come off and it appears that the green is underlain with gold).
- Foiling Aspects/Amount – There is much more foiling on the US edition than the UK edition, the foiling on the UK edition is quite subtle due to not being so shiny, bright, or abundant. The US edition has a lot of foiling and many more aspects are foiled including whole sections rather than hints.
- Colour Splashes – The title and subtitle on the cover of the US edition have a mint green background. The UK cover has no colour added.
- Capitalisation of Text on Cover – The subtitle on the UK cover is capitalised, the US subtitle is all lower case apart from the first A.
- Spine – Usually the book spines are black in the UK and white in the US. This time, both are white with black text, it’s printed a little blacker on the US edition. The UK spine has little bronze foil star accents, there is no foiling on the US spine. The motif between Johanna’s name and the book title differs with a butterfly on the UK edition and a side portrait of Ivy on the US edition. The US edition has the subtitle printed, the UK has replaced this with a key motif and foiled stars. Finally, the UK edition has the Virgin Books logo and the US has the Penguin Books logo.
- Thickness – The US edition is significantly thicker than the UK edition due to the paper being thicker, more on this later.
- Weight – The US edition weighs significantly more than the UK edition at 627g vs 564g.
- Blurb – The blurbs on both books are totally different. There is more text in the US edition, less in the UK edition. Info about Johanna and where to find her on social media is written on the US copy. The barcode is included in the space on the US edition but printed over some of the design on the UK edition. The design is printed exactly the same size on both books despite the difference in book size, therefore there is a larger border around the image on the US edition. NB The colour on the back of the US cover has been added by me when I was testing alcohol marker, the back cover of both editions arrives blank.
- Spelling – The UK edition uses British spelling throughout, including on the cover in the spelling of colour. The US edition uses American spellings throughout (I didn’t realise how many different spellings there were between the two versions of English until paying close attention to the text in this book!).
- Dust Jacket – This is usually one of the biggest differences between the editions, with the UK version usually having a removable dust jacket and the US edition having it attached. Johanna’s Christmas broke with convention and neither edition had a removable dust jacket and this has remained the case, it’s probably sensible as they’re prone to getting damaged but I’m a little sad inside because I’ve always loved them, but there you go, neither has one this time. The covers are made of thick card folded into 1/2 French Flaps inside, the card used for the UK cover is significantly thicker and less bendy than the card used for the US cover.
- Cover Attachment to Front and Back Pages – The US cover is attached to a thicker strip of the front and back pages of the book than the UK cover and it also isn’t pre-folded meaning it doesn’t open as easily or as widely as the UK edition which opens much flatter.
- Binding – The UK edition is stitched and glue-bound whereas the US edition is only glue-bound which will make it less durable and can lead to pages falling out. Because of the fixed cover being attached to more of the book, the binding is much tighter in the US edition, this will ease up with use, especially if you crack or break the spine (I always find this heartbreaking to do), but initially the US edition is much tighter and opens less flat than the UK edition.
- French Flaps – Both editions have ½ size French Flaps, they have the same design but the US design is printed a little larger and is also taken from a slightly different section of the original illustration from the UK edition. On the back inside flap of both books is information, the US copy has images of 6 of Johanna’s books and on the UK copy is information about Johanna herself.
- Title Page Size – The title page in the US edition is much larger than in the UK edition, 24.1 x 19.1cm vs 22.9 x 18.1cm.
- Emblem on Title Page – Possibly the most pedantic difference I found; the leaf emblem underneath Johanna’s name on the title page is much bigger in the US edition than the UK edition.
- Paper – This is one of the biggest differences between the two editions. The paper is not identical and is unique to each country. Johanna changed papers when Magical Jungle was published and her specially created ivory paper that was named after her is in all US copies of Magical Jungle, Johanna’s Chirstmas, and now Ivy and the Inky Butterfly. In the UK we have a whiter ivory paper which Johanna and her team scoured the globe for and this is in all UK editions of Magical Jungle, Johanna’s Christmas and Ivy and the Inky Butterfly. The UK paper is equal in thickness to Secret Garden and Enchanted Forest and significantly thicker than Lost Ocean, it has a little tooth but does burnish after a few layers of Polychromos and Prismacolor Premiers. The US paper is ivory but a more cream colour though it’s still paler than the cream colour of Secret Garden and Enchanted Forest. The paper is the thickest yet and has a more visible tooth, it takes far more layers for blending. In both editions water-based pens behave the same way and the paper in both is beautiful to colour on with pens as they glide really well with no feathering or spreading at all. The UK paper seems like it will shadow faster and more easily than the US edition and while I didn’t experience any shadowing in either, the UK paper did seem like it might with very dark colours if not using a light touch. I personally prefer the colour of the UK paper but the US paper is much easier to use pencils on and is less likely to bleed with water-based pens so I have to recommend that one.
- Introduction – The introduction and Johanna’s signature in the UK edition are aligned centrally, the introduction in the US edition is aligned centrally and justified, Johanna’s signature is off to the right.
- Icons for Colouring Tips – The UK edition has leaves as bullet points and the US edition has flowers. The text is also larger on this page in the US edition.
- Text Layout – The text in both books appears to be the same font and size. Due to the difference in the size of the overall book and the sizing of some images (see point 25), the gaps for the text in the UK edition are sometimes smaller and therefore, while the text in both editions is always in the same spaces, it’s sometimes laid out a bit differently either starting or ending lines on a different word or sometimes taking up more or less space on the page. Some of the UK text is justified like a newspaper with varying space sizes between the words, this is much less obvious in the US edition, if it has in fact been justified in that edition.
- Image Quality – Previously, there have been slight issues with UK editions having pixelation of images (see third photo below of a section in UK Magical Jungle). There are no such issues in either edition of this book. Hoorah!
- Image Size/Spacing – The US images are up to 1cm larger than those in the UK edition. Not all of the images are larger by any means and it appears to be quite random as to which images are larger and which are the same size but if you have any vision or fine motor control impairments then I’d suggest purchasing the US edition.
- Image Orientation – On some of the full double-page scenes, the image is shifted slightly showing a sliver more or less in one of the editions. This can be on any external edge of the image. Sometimes the UK page is slightly zoomed in and other times the US page is slightly zoomed in so that a little is lost off all edges, usually only a millimetre or two.
- Text Alterations – Very occasionally there are alterations to the text with a word added, removed or altered e.g. spring-clean/spring-cleaning. The most notable example is on the page below with two paragraphs beginning with “then” in the UK edition and not in the US edition.
- Typos – Sorry to be pointing these out, I did a lot of searching to find these so they’re not exactly noticeable, I only found them because I was looking for text differences. In the UK edition cloths has been replaced with clothes and in the US edition, cord has been replaced with chord. Apart from that, I’ve not noticed any others which is pretty impressive.
- Printing Location – The UK edition is printed in China and the US edition is printed in the USA.
- Page Ink Permanency – This is fairly similar in both, I tested the ink on the colour palette page with a Derwent Blender, a Derwent Burnisher and a Caran d’Ache Blender Pencil, the Derwent Blender did drag some ink pigment in both editions, more so on the US edition, the other two types of pencil didn’t move much pigment at all. You will need to be a little careful if using a hard blender pencil like the Derwent one and also, when pressing hard with any pencils you may experience image transfer on subsequent pages (this is erasable) so pop a sheet or two of paper behind your work to avoid this.
- Publication dates – The US edition releases on the 10th of October and the UK edition on the 12th of October.
To sum up, if you’ve managed to make it this far, the biggest factors affecting your decisions are spelling, paper and image size. As a perfectionist, I would always want a copy with the correct spellings for the country I’m from and therefore when reading the book, I’ll be reading my UK copy. The paper is lovely in both but if you’re wanting to really go to town with blending and shading pencils or using wet media then I’d suggest the US copy as the paper is thicker and holds up better to these types of colouring. The image size in some images is larger in the US edition and therefore anyone with any visual or fine motor control issues will be best purchasing the US edition so you’ve got that bit more wiggle-room.
Everything else I’ve listed is not a criticism and doesn’t impact use or enjoyment, I’ve just listed all of the differences to make people aware of what they are and to make it easy to identify which copy is which when looking at pictures of it online and elsewhere. In my opinion, the US edition offers a slightly superior colouring experience to the UK edition and if you’re going to purchase just one copy then I’d suggest it be that one though the UK edition really is lovely and I’m ever so glad to have both. If you notice any other differences then please do get in touch and I’ll add them to the list! Happy Colouring – You’ve definitely earnt it!
Please do let me know in the comments section below which edition you’ll be purchasing and why!
You can read my review of the contents of Ivy and the Inky Butterfly, including my mental health recommendations here for the UK and here for the US edition. You can find my Unboxing videos for both books and silent video flick-throughs on my YouTube Channel here.
If you’d like to purchase a copy of Ivy and the Inky Butterfly it’s available to pre-order here:
Amazon UK – Ivy and the Inky Butterfly
Book Depository Worldwide – https://www.bookdepository.com/Ivy-and-the-Inky-Butterfly-Johann-Basford/9780753545652/?a_aid=colouringitmom
Amazon UK – Ivy and the Inky Butterfly
Book Depository Worldwide – https://www.bookdepository.com/Ivy-and-the-Inky-Butterfly-Johann-Basford/9780143130925?ref=grid-view&qid=1507078323619&sr=1-2/?a_aid=colouringitmom