Sorry I've not been around the forum much lately - lots of life has been happening lately.
I'm not aware of printing problems, but I've got a dog-eared set of Ballantine Books paperbacks that are about 30 years old. My wife has an all-in-one-volume paperback by Houghton Mifflin that came out when the movies were released, and I don't notice anything different in it.
On the Hobbit, if you're of a scholarly mind and like to get into how the book was written, I've heard good things about the Annotated Hobbit
, but that might distract from the simple reading of the story (for instance, Tolkien actually changed the parts of the book quite a bit from the initial writing to make it fit better with the sequel he was writing that became the Lord of the Rings - the annotated version would note all of those changes where they occur).
Another consideration on the Hobbit is that this year is the 75th anniversary, so there is a new printing with Tolkien's art, a new intro by his son, etc. Oddly I only find the Kindle edition
on Amazon. I'm sure we'll also see some paperback version with cover art from the upcoming movie very soon as well timed for release this fall.
Both of those boxed sets you linked to look very nice in the store.
Oh, as long as we're on it, I'm also very much looking forward to Corey Olsen's Exploring J.R.R. Tolkien's "The Hobbit"
. It's coming out Sept 18 (the actual 75th anniversary of the original release). He's got a podcast called the Tolkien Professor on iTunes that I highly recommend.