HarperCollins is starting its celebrations for the 75th anniversary of The Hobbit ahead of time, with the publication of a collection of Tolkien’s artwork and a “cute” pocket-sized edition of the novel at the end of this month.

The Hobbit was first published in September 1937, but HarperCollins estates publisher David Brawn said it was beginning its celebrations early to pre-empt the excitement about Peter Jackson’s film version, starring Martin Freeman as Bilbo Baggins, which will be released in December 2012.

HarperCollins estimates around one third of the UK population will see “The Hobbit” film. Brawn said: “Since ‘The Lord of the Rings’ films, The Hobbit has played second fiddle—now it’s going to be the turn of The Hobbit to have that focus on it. We said: ‘Let’s jump in there and celebrate Tolkien before everyone starts to celebrate Peter Jackson as director of the film.'” More..