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A: Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States

The World's Largest Printed Book --Spectacularly Beautiful

Choki Lhamo (age 14) from Trongsa with BHUTAN, the world

Choki Lhamo (age 14) from Trongsa with BHUTAN, the world's largest published book

Jay Talbott / National Geographic Society

In December 2003 Michael Hawley, a scientist at MIT, issued what was then the world's largest printed book—Bhutan: a Visual Odyssey Across the Kingdom. The work, which was, in my opinion, also one of the most beautiful books ever published, was undertaken as a philanthrophic endeavor. It had 112 pages and weighed 133 pounds on an included custom-built aluminum stand. It's page openings were 7 x 5 feet. The work was initially offered in exchange for a $10,000 contribution. However, in November 2008 was offering copies for sale for $30,000 each.

A more practical and affordable way to appreciate this spectacular volume was the trade edition published in 2004, a copy of which I acquired. In February 2009 this was offered for sale by for $100.00. In my opinion this is one of the finest and most spectacular trade books designed, printed and bound in America, though my aging eyes were not entirely comfortable reading white text against a black background. The clothbound volume, with an unusual dust jacket printed on both sides, measures 15¼ x 12¼ inches (39 x 31 cm).

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