<i>In The News:</i> One New E-Reader, One Cancelled, A Cavernous Library, Abe's Top 10
What do you do when you have 1,500,000 books, some old and valuable, that need to be safely stored for a few years? That's a question that was recently faced by the Manchester (U.K.) Central Library. The library is undergoing major renovations, and needed a safe place to store its large number of books for several years. Their answer was to ship the books off to the salt mines (though hopefully they haven't sent their librarians there too). The mine, in the town of Winsford, is deep underground, thereby maintaining a constancy of temperature (57 degrees F.) and humidity (65%), while being free of light and insects (no mention of bats, however, has been made). The space in the mines is said to be the equivalent of 700 football fields, and while football is something different in the U.K. than America, a field is still quite large. In 2013, when the renovations are complete, the books will reemerge into the light, and onto the 22 miles of shelving they require. What Manchester Central is doing is hardly new. Abandoned mines have often been used for storage of infrequently used documents. Perhaps in the years ahead more old books will find their way underground as digital copies become the norm for research and reading.
AbeBooks released its list of the top 10 highest prices paid on their book-listing site during the month of April. It is hard to find a thread that connects this varied lot beyond the fact that people paid a lot of money to purchase them.
10. The Holy Bible, Containing the Old and New Covenant by Charles Thomson, published in 1808. Okay, Charles Thomson didn't really write the Bible, but he did translate this edition from Greek. $4,500.
7 (tie). The Vatican Frescoes of Michelangelo, photographs by Takashi Okamura, published in 1991. A two-volume, limited edition elephant folio. $5,000.
7 (tie). The 100 Greatest Books Ever Written, by, naturally, numerous authors. A 1980 Easton Press leather-bound limited edition. $5,000.
7 (tie). The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock, the June 1915 first appearance of T.S. Eliot's poem in Poetry Magazine. It was the first publication of an Eliot poem outside of a school setting. $5,000.
6. Les Miserables, the Brussels true first edition, published in 1862. $5,500.
5. Treasure Island, a first edition, first printing (1883) of Robert Louis Stevenson's classic. $6,000.
4. Systema Cosmicum in quo Dialogis, by Galileo, the first Latin edition of Galileo's then controversial astronomical work. $6,023.
3. The Romances of Alexandre Dumas, a 48-volume leather bound set published in 1904. $7,500.
2. American Winter Sports - Deer Shooting on the Shattagee by Currier & Ives, an 1855 lithograph. $8,500.
1. The Histories of Herodotus, Isaac Littlebury's 1709 translation into English of a much older work. $9,750.