Variations on Panini's spine design.
Here in Europe, Italian based publisher Panini has the rights to reprint material from Marvel and publish trade paperbacks. They also release collectors editions, 3 single issues from a particular IP, collected together in a cardboard bound floppy for around £3. Released monthly around 8 months after the issues original US shipping, these CE's are great for catching up on previous arcs. The Avengers one for example would contain.
New Avengers #1
Secret Avengers #1
And so on every month, sometimes there might even be a free poster. My favourite of them all was probably Wolverine & Deadpool. Titan UK release similar formats for Batman and Star Wars comics.
Some of Panini's Collected Editions.
Obviously I'm here to talk about the trades. My first ever TPB was Panini's Planet Hulk reprint. £10 for X pages of smashing goodness. Back then however Panini's paperbacks felt like they were made out of slate and had these horrible grey spines. I very quickly graduated on to picking up Marvel's own trades.
Nowadays however, it might surprise you to learn that not only have Panini dramatically improved the design of their trades, they are also cheaper, often collect more and released before the actual Marvel edition.
Here's an example:
Wolverine and the X-Men vol.1 TPB.
Panini, £12.99 issues 1-7 11/07/12
Marvel, £10.99 issues 1-4 07/11/12
So that's nearly £1 cheaper an issue and released nearly half a year before Marvel. Not bad at all. This isn't a one off either. Every title I tried is similarly priced/released.
Now, if like me it's the difference in spines that puts you off. (I have over 300 Marvel TPBs with Marvel logo on top) you could do what I have done and collect one or two runs in Panini that wont need Marvel books to complete. I have been collecting Ultimate Comics, starting from Hickman's run this way. Always remember to check the publisher when buying trades online.