Friday, 6 November 2009

“The Ultimate Hardcover Book”

So, is free text on the internet putting the published book out of business? And are all hardbacks today so shoddily manufactured?

A firm called Kirkham Motorsports have built a bespoke sports car for a millionaire, made almost entirely of aluminium and so shiny it must be a hazard to other road users on a sunny day. For extra rigidity, the chassis is machined from solid metal known as billet aluminium. As a finishing touch they decided to manufacture (“write” doesn’t seem quite the word) a special commemorative book about the project. The book is of course a very special item too, being made of the same materials as the car: the cover uses 25 pounds of precision-engineered aluminium plate which took 26 hours to machine, tan leather of the sort used in the interior, and the same heat-treated stainless steel screws and bolts used to hold the chassis together. It is, in the old sense of the word, a masterpiece, a virtuoso exemplar of the metalworker’s art. They describe it, and who can blame them, as “the ultimate hardcover book”. You can buy a (very) limited-edition copy for $4,500.

Or you can go to the website and download it free as a PDF file.

I mean, have publishers learned nothing?

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