As has been pointed out, Wordsworth print books that are in the public domain. They have just added George Orwell to their list. Wordsworth specializes in selling books to schools. They use the latest on-demand printing and can sell books to schools for under £2.00 each. I find the printing, especially long books, to be too small and hard to read.
In my experience, Oxford and Penguin Classics are basically the same - UNLESS you are looking for a specific translation. Then you need to pick which ever one published that translation. Both have end notes and introductory material, which may or may not be helpful depending on what that specific editor or contributor decided to write about (and depending on how modern that particular edition - the more recent the introduction the more politically correct it is). I've got collections of both. I've also got a few Wordsworth classics - the text is usually tiny, the paper very thin and grey, and they weren't actually designed to last for long (they are very flimsy compared to the Oxford and Penguin), hence the low cost. In terms of contents, it's not a problem unless you are looking for a copy-righted translation. Some of them have an introductions and notes (my translation of Faust has notes and commentary). The Penguins and Wordsworths have somewhat more flexible spines than the Oxfords so you are less likely to crack the spines of the very fat books. I don't have any Collins classics, but it looks like they also only print what is out of copy-right.Is Oxford better or Penguin?
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