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A Binding COLLECTABLES // BOOKS

Commitment

The Folio Society has been producing beautiful collectable books for over 70 years. Should you be making more space on your shelves? By Chris Jenkins

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ounded in London in 1947, The Folio Society publishes beautifully crafted editions of the world’s finest literature— mainly classic fiction, but with a solid element of non-fiction. Following the principle that great books deserve to be presented in a form worthy of their contents, The Folio Society celebrates the unique joy to be derived from owning, holding and reading a beautiful printed edition—something not to be had from a digital book. The beautifully crafted, imaginatively presented illustrated editions of the world’s great works offer a rich literary experience to readers, and the limited editions are particularly attractive to the collector. We visited The Folio Society’s Thames-side offices to find out more about the company’s philosophy, and the numerous projects it currently has in hand. Publishing Director Tom Walker explained: “The Folio Society was founded in 1947 by Charles Ede, at around the same time as Penguin, with a similar ambition, to put good literature in the reach of ‘everyman’. Initially it operated as a membership-based organisation, and as the list grew, the membership commitment was established as four books per year. But since 2011, anyone has been able to purchase from The Folio Society list without committing to membership, and in 2016, the membership-based structure was done away with. Now we publish around 60 titles per year, with the limited editions as flagship, but by selling only direct from our website we feel we still retain a sense of community.”

LAVISH Recent projects include a limited edition of Gene Wolfe’s Book of the New Sun, Kahlil Gibran’s The Prophet with the artist’s colour illustrations alongside his original text for the first time, and a number of classic science fiction titles including Neil Gaiman’s Anansi Boys illustrated by Francis Vallejo, Ray Bradbury’s Something

Wicked This Way Comes illustrated by Tim McDonagh, and H. G. Wells’ The Time Machine and The Island of Doctor Moreau illustrated by Grahame Baker-Smith. Available now is a lavish edition of George R. R. Martin’s A Game of Thrones, as recently adapted for television. The Folio Society edition of the first in the series, A Song of Ice and Fire, is presented in two 10”x 63⁄4” volumes illustrated by Jonathon Burton and introduced by fantasy writer Joe Abercrombie. Approved by the author and lavishly illustrated throughout, the £125 edition features bindings blocked with gold and silver foils, black page tops, a large format map of Martin’s Known world, newly-drawn family trees and sigils, and a hidden illustration within the slipcase. Perhaps less immediately familiar but every bit as impressive is The Folio Society’s limited-

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