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Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Why printed books will never disappear

You'll get this or you won't, with no explanation. It was appended to a volume dated 1907, downloaded from Gutenberg, and now I find to my annoyance that I can't tell you exactly which one.



ALTHOUGH The King's Classics are to be purchased for 1/6 net per volume, the series is unique in that
 (1) the letterpress, paper, and binding are unapproached by any similar series.

 (2) "Competent scholars in every case have supervised this series, which can therefore be received with confidence." – Athenaeum
The "King's Classics" are printed on antique laid paper, 16mo. (6 X 4-1/2inches), gilt tops, and are issued in the following styles and prices. Each volume has a frontispiece, usually in photogravure.

Quarter bound, antique grey boards, 1/6 net.

Red Cloth, 1/6 net.

Quarter Vellum, grey cloth sides, 2/6 net.

Special three-quarter Vellum, Oxford side-papers, gilt tops, silkmarker, 5/- net.

***Nos. 2, 20 and 24 are double volumes. Price, Boards or Cloth, 3/-net; Quarter Vellum, 5/- net; special three-quarter Vellum, 7/6 net.


  1. I wonder what 'Oxford side papers' were

    1. Thank you, Zed - on my search for an answer to your question, I discovered which book this was appended to - Sappho! But I was unable to help with an answer. Maybe a convenient space for learned professors to write critical comments for posterity?

    2. Who cares - let's have more Sappho

    3. It's this curiosity thing with me. I fix on things sometimes and it bugs me not to know.

      But in the grand scheme of things, yes – more Sappho. A panegyric for her lyric and a panacea for all ills. No more pills. [It's OK – I'll stop while I'm only this far behind.]

    4. The sea of unknown things stretches to the far horizon, unmasterable, so large it is barely possible to comprehend.

    5. And that has a much wider application than Oxford side-papers, as I am discovering daily.

  2. I had actually forgotten that we used to write shillings with no pence that way! Anne P

    1. I wondered if I should say for post-decimal people that five shillings - a handsome price in 1907 - was what was replaced by the 50c piece in Australia in 1966. The comparison is not fair of course, but it's an interesting one.

  3. Treasures. I can nearly smell those old books! The oldest ones I have are a 1917 Grimm's Fairytales (including a story titled 'The Man Who Couldn't Shudder"!)with beautiful illustrations,naturally, and"The White Cross" by Sarson C J Ingham (1909) a gothic romance I think, which I found somewhere in 2009 and bought because it was then 100 years old:)

    And my grandma's Bible, 1906, gilt edged and leather bound, of course..and my mother's 1936 'Anne of Green Gables', sigh. Thank you for inviting that indulgence, not that you intended to, no doubt. Delightfully nostalgic for me.

    Julie M XX

    1. The ancient illustrated one of my grandmother's that used to scare me witless when I was 8 or so was Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress with horrible dark etchings and misery depicted all through. These were supposed to be morally uplifting, I guess, but to me the Slough of Despond was a genuine peat bog with people getting dragged in and disappearing in the murk. I didn't see it as metaphorical at all. Maybe Grannie should have explained it to me.


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