Top positive review
IF YOU'RE CONCERNED ABOUT MISMATCHING SETS and/or want the complete set in the larger size...
Reviewed in the United States on September 24, 2020
If you're confused by the reviews and are concerned about getting a matching set, this review is for you. I'll start by specifying that my review is for the regular set of unboxed books, NOT the boxed set, of the NEWEST edition of these books by Ace publishing (with the covers as seen in the image gallery).
Despite having separate product listings, both the unboxed AND boxed set have the exact same reviews. This is why some reviews say they got a mismatched set, while newer reviews say they got a matching set. That, coupled with the fact that people may have ordered from different sellers, leads to some chaos in the review pool and uncertainty on the part of prospective buyers.
I purchased the unboxed set twice, one from Prime ($62) and one from an independent seller ($52 including S/H). Before that I purchased the first three books separately, and received the first Dune book in a larger size and the others in a narrower size. After that first purchase, I went looking for a matching set of the LARGER size books, since I prefered the feel of it. I learned that apparently the larger size first book is what a lot of people had when they tried to purchase the sequels, which then often came in the narrow size. Here's what's going on with that:
If you have the larger-size Dune book(s) you have the TRADE PAPERBACK version. If you have the smaller size Dune book(s), you actually have the *NEW* MASS MARKET PAPERBACK edition. For convenience, I will use NMM = New Mass Market and OMM = Old Mass Market for the rest of the review.
It seems for the unboxed set, when you select "Paperback" you tend to receive the NMM set despite there being a separate "Mass Market" option. This was my experience—I did indeed receive matching sets both times but they were not the Trade Paperbacks I was seeking.
To add to this confusion, even individual listings of the NMM books also pitch the NMM as "Paperback" while the "Mass Market" option seems to mean OMM editions.
IF YOU WANT A SET OF THE LARGE TRADE PAPERBACK SIZE... The boxed set on Amazon states it is in the Trade Paperback format, hence its higher price point. At $86 as of writing this, it's still a steal compared to its normal price of $108 (each individual Trade Paperback book is, at full price, $18 each). Skip a few paragraphs down, though, if you want to save even more money on a complete Trade Paperback set.
IF YOU WANT A SET OF THE NEW MASS MARKET SIZE... The unboxed set seems to be just that. My two purchases of this product both were the matching NMM size; as for the negative reviews from people that received entirely mismatching sets, I can't explain that except that I believe they may have purchased from different sellers and probably before a certain date when the complete NMM set became available (?). If you want to be sure what you're getting, contact independent sellers beforehand or order it via Prime so you can receive and return it quickly if it turns out to be mismatched.
IF YOU ONLY WANT SOME OF THE BOOKS IN THE LARGE TRADE PAPERBACK SIZE... I ended up only wanting the first four books after my two failed purchases of the complete set. I didn't really want to pay for the boxed set, even though it was in the Trade Paperback size I wanted. You would think so, but it is NOT EASY to find the individual Trade Paperback version of each book on Amazon. Even if you specify "Trade Paperback" in searches, it still tries to give you the NMM edition (the one technically mislabeled as "Paperback"), at least in my experience.
I ended up on the Penguin Random House website, found the individual Dune books there, chose "Paperback" on their site, then hit their Amazon button to find it here. This is how I found the first four books in Trade Paperback size, in the end (and you can find the rest of the books this way). Penguin House does correctly differentiate between true "Paperback" and "Mass Market", unlike Amazon. You will know you have the right product if it says: "Paperback – July 7, 2020" in the title, with the key being the publishing date. The product image looks wider, unlike other listings which sell the narrower new Mass Market edition, and the dimensions are also listed in the product details.
IF YOU WANT THE TRADE PAPERBACK COMPLETE 6-BOOK SET BUT WANT TO SAVE SOME MONEY... First, read the paragraph directly above this one. As of writing this, the first three books are the SAME price as the NMM books @ about $10 each; the fourth book fluctuates between $12-$17 (almost full price). I got the fourth book at $12.59 when the price dropped a little bit. Heretics is also @ $10 and Chapterhouse is still @ $17—but I bet, like God Emperor, its price fluctuates. At those prices you could save $16-20 buying them individually versus the boxed set. I didn't want the full set, but if I change my mind then I'd still be saving a good chunk of money. Note that you could also buy some of these books USED and save a little more, but I would contact the seller beforehand to make sure they're definitely selling the Trade Paperback size as my gut tells me some of them might incorrectly give you the NMM size.
Sorry that this review is so long. Figuring all this out was messy and became a little stressful; I wish I had known all this before all of my failed buying attempts, so I've left this review in hopes it helps clarify what's going on. Four stars because I did get a matching set both times, but overall such an unusually confusing experience with the incorrect delineations of "Paperback" and "Mass Market Paperback" explained above.
EPILOGUE: WHY WOULD YOU WANT THE LARGER TRADE PAPERBACK SIZE? It stays open on a flat surface, uses a nicer font that's slightly heavier weight than the mass market version, offers a nicer leading size with the text (that is, the space between lines looks a little better) and uses less-smushed-together italics—this is all just preference, obviously, but for me it added up to greater readability and a more satisfying experience. Before I got the first book in Trade and the other two in MM, I didn't care about all that. But after I saw and felt the difference in quality, it was hard to want the MM versions after that. Obviously if you want portability over everything else, then the MM size is better for you.