Posts Tagged ‘Pledge Music’

ABBA The Official Photo Book reviewed

15 March, 2014

The Super Trouper Edition Of The Official Photo BookOne of the big ticket items in this ABBA 40th anniversary year is ABBA The Official Photo Book (see previous blog posts here and here for more details)

This week I received the Super Trouper Edition, a limited edition numbered boxed set (number 847) including the book, a set of postcards, and documentary DVD. The book features over 600 photographs from the ABBA members as children, through their early careers in music, the ABBA years and beyond, right up to a photo of Benny, Frida and Bjorn together at Mono Music in May 2013, the day after the opening of ABBA The Museum. The deluxe version also features an extra section of photos of ABBA in concert.

The book, and indeed the box set, are beautifully presented and well laid out. Of the 600+ photos 100 are said to have never been published before. To my eyes many more of the photos have been rarely seen, if ever. Even those all-too familiar images are welcome, making the book a tribute to ABBA’s lasting legacy.

Browsing through the book the first time I did have a moment of déja vu, during the later ABBA years. There are quite a few Anders Hanser photos at this point, as he took so many photos of ABBA during that period, which makes the section feel similar to the Hanser photo book From ABBA To Mamma Mia! (2000), with the same images presented in a similar manner. It’s not a complaint, just an observation.

The text tells an abbreviated version of the ABBA story, with comments from Agnetha, Björn, Benny and Frida on events or the photographs themselves. I haven’t read the text yet, but from the bits I have glanced at show signs of being translated from original Swedish text – Stig Anderson is always referred to as Stikkan, a stage name he took in the 50s that became the nickname he was known by in Sweden for the rest of his life, but never outside of Sweden, and there are references to “the ABBAs”. But that’s just a personal gripe, it doesn’t detract from the book at all.

Curiously, I notice that some of the record cover images throughout the book have been sourced from the internet -I’ve spotted my scan of the Australian 1973 ‘Ring Ring’ single from ABBA for the record.

As always fans have been polarised. First over the price of the special editions, then over the contents of the book, the handling of the release by the publisher and distributor.

Some complaints of manufacturing faults and damage in transit are indeed valid. But to complain about the contents not meeting expectations (whatever they might have been) or “too many photos that have been seen before” just seems petty. The publishers have posted a message with an email address to report any problems with the book, though that hasn’t stopped fans venting online, as if that would fix things.

I do think it’s strange that after it seemed that the release would coincide with the Eurovision anniversary in early April, suddenly the book was made available a month earlier. It has led to those who ordered the deluxe editions, who were promised delivery before the bookstore edition, are now getting their copies late.

A very cute but small detail: the four ABBA figures (below) from the opening of ABBA – The Movie on the barcode label on the delivery box and the back of the presentation box.

ABBA The Official Photo Book

9 October, 2013


ABBA The Official Photo BookThe first authorised photographic biography of the pop group ABBA is set for publication in April 2014, marking precisely 40 years to the month since the band’s international career was launched by its winning performance of Waterloo at the 1974 Eurovision Song Contest. Max Ström (, one of Europe’s most prestigious illustrated publishers, is putting a nine month extensive marketing plan into action in the run up to the anniversary, and publication of ABBA – The Official Photo Book, culminating in an exciting international launch, at the beginning of The London Book Fair (8-10 April 2014).

Max Ström’s campaign for the title involves a unique approach, featuring four different versions of the Photo Book, enhancing the fan and reader experience. The versions include:

– Standard ‘Trade’ edition

– Swedish language ‘Deluxe’ edition

– English language ‘Deluxe’ limited edition – with 10,000 copy print run

– ‘Super Trouper’ limited edition – with 5,000 copy print run

Trade Edition

ABBA – The Official Photo Book will be unique in being the first and only official photographic book that will cover the entire career of the Swedish band. The book will consist of more than 500 classic, rare and previously unseen images of the band that, to date, has sold 380 million albums worldwide, making it one of the best-selling musical acts of all time, surpassed only by The Beatles and Elvis.

The book’s images will document the band members’ early years, the formation and rise in popularity of ABBA, the group’s international breakthrough performance at the 1974 Eurovision Song Contest in Brighton, subsequent global superstardom, and eventual break-up – after just 10 years together – in 1982. ABBA – The Official Photo Book will also feature photographs which provide insight into the four band members’ subsequent careers, including the international success of the musicals Chess and Mamma Mia (which, in 2008, was turned into the hit movie starring Meryl Streep). It will be produced in a large format style which recalls the design and size of a classic LP. The foreword will be written by all four band members: Agnetha Fältskog, Björn Ulvaeus, Benny Andersson and Anni-Frid Lyngstad. 

Deluxe Edition

The ‘Deluxe’ edition will have an extra 20 pages, featuring images from major live concerts, and will also include a new DVD documentary: ‘ABBA in Pictures – The Photographers’ Stories’. The English language version of this edition will be limited to 10,000 copies.

Super Trouper Edition

Max Ström is working with PledgeMusic (, and their pioneering direct-to-fan platform, to give ABBA fans the opportunity to pre-order the special ‘Super Trouper’
collector’s edition
of ABBA – The Official Photo Book for delivery in March, ahead of the publication of the main consumer version, which will be available in more than 20 countries in 2014.

The ‘Super Trouper’ collector’s edition of ABBA – The Official Photo Book has a limited print-run of 5,000 copies, each individually numbered and signed by the authors: award-winning picture editor, Bengt Wanselius, and leading Swedish writer, Petter Karlsson. The collector’s edition’s 460 pages feature more than 600 pictures (100 of which are previously unseen), 40 bonus pages of images (not available in the main consumer version), and is delivered in a presentation box. This will also contain a section with all the names of the dedicated fans who made the limited edition possible by ordering the book before 15th December 2013. Fans who pre-order the book will also gain access to private ‘Pledgers-only’ updates from the making of the book.

The collector’s edition also features a DVD with a specially produced documentary on ABBA in pictures, and is included with a numbered print which is a rare alternative shot from the cover session for the Super Trouper album (1980) printed on high-quality photographic paper.

ABBA – The Official Photo Book will be published in the UK and Sweden by Max Ström Publishing, with the company in ongoing discussions with a number of international publishing houses regarding publication in other territories.

Quote From ABBA

Frida comments: “I am thrilled with all of these pictures, some of which I am seeing now for the very first time. The book provides a real trip down memory lane.” 

ABBA – An International Fan Base And An Enduring Appeal

With the band continuing to sell more than 2 million albums each year, ‘ABBA The Photo Album’ is anticipated to appeal to a sizeable international fan base, with ABBA having had multiple number 1 albums in the UK, Australia, Holland, France, Germany, Austria, and high-charting albums in Canada and the USA. ABBA’s most popular single, Dancing Queen (1976) was number 1 in the US, UK, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, West Germany, Ireland, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, South Africa, and Sweden. In October 2012, the Official Charts Company identified ABBA’s greatest hits album, Gold – which features hits including S.O.S., Money, Money, Money and Knowing Me, Knowing You – as the UK’s biggest selling CD, with 4 million copies sold since 1992.

The ABBA Museum in Djurgården, Stockholm is set to open in 2013.

Max Ström Publishing – Background 

Max Ström is one of Scandinavia’s most prestigious illustrated publishers. The company was founded in 1994 by Marika Stolpe and Jeppe Wikström and is now a part of the Bonnier Group.  The company started publishing in the UK last year with the hugely successful, A Day In The World.

The Super Trouper Edition of ABBA – The Official Photo Book will cost £195 ($365 USD / 240 Euros – subject to exchange rates, prices inclusive of delivery to door) 

To pre-order the Super Trouper collector’s edition of ABBA – The Official Photo Book, visit –

Media release 8 October 2013

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