Cds, ipods and the internet have well and truly killed the vinyl record. The email has practically ended the use of the fax. If even Alice in Wonderland is willing to front a device that may help hasten the demise of the book, then what hope is there? Is this the beginning of the end for the book?
I was at the 18th birthday tea of our lovely young friend, Ati (happy birthday!) where I came face to face with The Reason Why Age Will Never Wither Nor Custom Stale a Book's Infinite Variety.
At the party I met Michael and Linda Falter who are publishers of a kind unlikely to be harrassed by wannabe children's authors.
Michael and Linda publish manuscripts ... ANCIENT manuscripts.
reproduced here with the kind permission of Facsimile Editions Limited
Their company is called, appropriately, Facsimile Editions:
Since its foundation in 1981, Facsimile Editions has become world-renowned for reproducing ancient manuscripts with unparalleled accuracy, careful scholarship and meticulous attention to detail.We've all probably seen illuminated texts in the dusty glass display cases of museums and libraries.
Well, they showed me one of their facsimile editions, the Rothschild Miscellany, and I wanted to weep. Here it was to hold in one's hands, the minute illustrations painstakingly reproduced, the gold hand-tipped, even the worm holes that get progressively smaller as you turn the pages are retained.
Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful. I wanted to rub my face against it but that might have been alarming so I focused on not drooling as I gazed upon its pages.
The Miscellany was a collection of "miscellaneous yet connected texts ... illustrating almost every custom of daily life in a Jewish Renaissance household". It was compiled by a wealthy Jew in 1479. My husband describes it (wittily?) as a "rich guy's Daily Me" of the period. You can read more about it here.
Their latest releasd work is the Book of Esther, and I can only urge you to go to this page of their website and click the green arrow buttons to see the scroll unscroll. The story of Esther unfolds from right to left, in intricately illustrated scenes which change progressively as the scroll unrolls.
I was devastated to hear that they didn't have a showroom where I could bring some booky friends and spend time with these gorgeous objects.
Seeing and touching these books, it was so totally clear to me.
Books are too fabulous to lose and we should do all that is in our power to ensure their survival in the face of all the realities of the Digital Age.