In less than 24 hours, I've run across mentions of the 70 Pocket Penguins paperback collection (play around with this site when you have an hour or two to spare -- you get to see all the cover art and read excerpts) and the Penguin Great Ideas Gift Set (which I freakin' covet, despite owning a few of the books already).
So now I'm curious as to how many people casting about for suitable presents to give to the bibliomane in their life will end up buying either one of those sets. There's something so enticing about book sets! They speak both to the hoarding impulse and the appeal of a curated collection. (When I read "One Well-Read Home Has Some New Pets: 1,082 Penguins" (NYT, Nov 14, 05), I thought, "Oh, wooooow. That's hard-core." Kathryn Gursky now has the complete collection of the Penguin Classics Library.)
For those of us who don't have an extra $8K to drop on 1082 new books (which, when you think about it, averages out to $7.38 a book, thereby making a compelling example of the benefits of bulk buying), there are always the smaller book sets: the 51-volume Children's Library ($300), the 102-volume Complete Greeks and Romans ($794), the 94-title American Collection Vol. 1: Foundations in Literature ($672), the 43-title American Collection Vol. 2: Foundations in Democracy ($348), or the 119-book English Collection: 19th Century British Fiction ($700).
On a different note: can anyone point me to stats or reports examining how well book sets do compared to stand-alone volumes?