Beautiful books that are not for just reading

Words Helen Brown

With more eBooks flying off the shelves than ever and a rise in eReader sales, the print landscape looks to be a dull one; shrouded in the moorland mists of a Brontë novel. In answer to this, a new surge of exquisitely crafted books have surfaced. These titles are not just for reading but to behold and admire, collect and share. It would seem that judging a book by its cover is now a legitimate thing. All that considered, here’s a selection of some of the most beautiful books to give your bookcase a new – and completely Instagam-able – lease of life.

Breakfast at Tiffany’s from The Folio Society

Founded in London in 1947 by Charles Ede, The Folio Society publishes carefully crafted editions of the world’s finest literature; from classic fiction to non-fiction, poetry to children’s titles. They believe that books deserve to be presented in a form worthy of their contents and so celebrate the unique joy that derives from owning, holding and reading a beautiful printed edition. This copy of Breakfast at Tiffany’s is just one of thousands of beautifully bound books available from The Folio Society. Capote’s enchanting New York novella is introduced by Jay McInerney and is illustrated by Karen Klassen.

Charles Dickens: A Christmas Carol from Penguin

Penguin have a gorgeous selection of newly bound versions of most-loved literature that will have a striking impact on any book case. If you not only love having a great classic to read but also cherish the feel of a wonderful object, then these are the books for you. They are bound in cloth and each individually designed by Coralie Bickford-Smith. This copy of Charles Dicken’s A Christmas Carol is pretty enough to lay out as a decoration in any festive house-hold.

Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone Deluxe Illustrated Edition from Bloomsbury

An enchanting feast of a book, this collector’s edition of the full-colour illustrated Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone is a volume to treasure for a lifetime. Brimming with rich detail and humour, Jim Kay has created over 115 illustrations in oil, pastel, pencil, watercolour, pixels and a myriad of other techniques to bring his dazzling depiction of the wizarding world to life. This timeless classic features an opulent page size and an exclusive pull-out double gatefold of Diagon Alley; encased in a real cloth cover that features intricately foiled line art by Jim Kay.

A Little Princess from the Puffin in Bloom Collection

Each of the four titles in the Puffin in Bloom Collection features a quirky floral cover illustration by Anna Bond, the creative director and artistic inspiration behind the global stationery phenomenon Rifle Paper Co. The collection includes Anne of Green Gables and Little Women; as well as this striking copy of A Little Princess.

Wuthering Heights from Michael O’Mara Books

Emily Brontë’s greatest novel, Wuthering Heights, is tastefully bound by Michael O’Mara Books, an independent family firm that produce one hundred and fifty new books a year. The company published their first book in July 1985 with a team of just two – Mr and Mrs O’Mara –  from the spare bedroom of their semi-detached Clapham house. Thirty years of publications later, Michael O’Mara Books continue to craft literature that is as pleasurable to look at as it is to read.

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