A Google Alert drew my attention to the world’s largest book. Measuring 5′ x 7′ and weighing 133 pounds Bhutan: A Visual Odyssey Across The Last Himalayan Kingdom by Michael Haley is claimed by The World’s Record Academy (some sort of Guinness Book of Records Clone?) to have set the record for the largest published book.
It features 112 pages of spectacular images and copies are printed on demand when an order is received ($US30,000 a pop through Amazon.com), in a limited edition run (500 copies).
It is quite an achievement but I have to ask why. One of the big advantages of a book is that it is user-friendly … something that a tome that requires the strength of Atlas to lift and the arms of a gorilla to turn the pages is not. In the report on the Academy’s web site Hawley says “What I really wanted was a 5-by-7-foot chunk of wall that would let me change the picture every day,” Michael Hawley said. “And I thought there was an old-fashioned mechanism that might work. It’s called the book.”
Sorry Michael, but I can’t help thinking that this is one of those times that an electronic solution would probably have been better. As well as being more cost-effective.
Even if 500 museums and collectors buy the thing, the sheer logistics of moving, storing and displaying such a fragile item on anything like a regular basis are mind-boggling. Though I have to say that I’d like to see a copy.