Thursday, June 18, 2009

Teensie Weensie Books -- Squinters Beware

My eyes aren't what they once were and I have a hard enough time reading under the best of conditions. Sometimes I do better with my contact lenses. Sometimes I do better by holding the reading material inches from my face, closing my weak right eye while using only my unaided left eye to make out the words. Fine print? Forget it.

Which brings us to miniature books. I was hunting around for books in Boston on Tuesday and stumbled on this place, which houses and sells tiny books, some no smaller than a person's thumbnail. Here's but one display case of the many found in the store:

Every type of book can be found in the collection: fiction, non-fiction, poetry, presidential inaugural speeches -- you name it, they have it. These little babies aren't cheap, either, ranging in price from $150 for Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (15/16" by 3/4") to $28,500 for an Imperial Russian jewel, a 14-carat pendant in the form of a hinged book containing, among other things, a song popular in the salons of pre-Revolutionary Russia (1 3/4" by 1 1/4").

Alas, miniature books aren't my thing. With my eyes, I'd never be able to read a word. But before leaving the store, I asked the owner if there was much of a market for the tiny books. I'm sure he's been asked this question before, for his response was perfect: "As you might imagine, sir, demand for miniature books is -- ahem -- small."


  1. Those little books are fascinating, and I am certain, utterly illegible. Why were they made I wonder.

  2. Purely the novelty, I suppose. BTW, Oreneta, I spent a few days in TO last week. The sun-splashed weather was out of this world.


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