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The Book by Design

The Remarkable Story of the World’s Greatest Invention

A richly illustrated look at some of the British Library’s most beautiful books from around the world.
For centuries across the world, books have been created as objects of beauty, with bookmakers lavishing great care on their paper, binding materials, illustrations, and lettering.
The Book by Design, featuring an array of books from the British Library's collection, focuses on the sensory experience of holding and reading these objects. Each selection represents a specific moment in the development of what we know today as the book—from scrolls and bound illuminated manuscripts to paperbacks and formatted digital information. These range from the seventh century to the present and include examples from China, Japan, Southeast Asia, the Middle East, Europe, and North America, in addition to a look at book traditions in Africa and Oceania. John James Audubon’s Birds of America, the works of Chaucer, Russian Futurist books, limited editions, historic copies of the Qur’an and the Bible, mass-market paperbacks, and more come together to tell the visual, tactile, artistic, and cultural history of books.
Expert curators and specialists explore these books from the perspective of design and manufacturing, original art photographs offer vivid representations of their textures and materials, and graphics detail the size and specifications of each book. Offering a wide-ranging look at the creation and use of books, illustrated with hundreds of color images, this volume is itself an object of beauty.

256 pages | 200 color plates | 8 1/4 x 10 1/2

History: General History

Library Science and Publishing: Publishing

Reference and Bibliography

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