United Kingdom: The biggest and most expensive world atlas in publishing history has gone on show to Londoners at the famous Stanfords mapstore. Dubbed the ‘ultimate book about our world’, the limited-edition Earth weighs in at more than 66lbs and carries a price-tag of £2,000. Hand-bound in leather with gilded edges and silver-plated corners, Earth has 355 maps across 580 pages and more than 800 carefully selected photos.
Television presenter, botanist and environmental campaigner David Bellamy OBE, who wrote the foreword, said: ‘It is a fantastic production. The book shows that we live in a wonderful world and serves as a reminder that we must stop trashing our soils, rivers and fisheries. If we don’t, what are we going to hand on to our children?
‘The atlas presents a detailed picture of what our planet’s natural beauty could continue to look like. It tells me that nations should speak peace and conservation to each other.’ The atlas is the brainchild of Australian publisher Gordon Cheers who had a 20-year dream to create a book that would become a lasting time capsule of the planet.
Earth is expected to appeal to collectors, libraries, investors, map enthusiasts and armchair travellers. The print run is only 3,000 copies with just 200 earmarked for the UK. It is already proving a good investment opportunity with a copy selling at an auction in Dubai for nearly £5,000.
Cartographer Alan Smith of the Northamptonshire company Global Mapping worked on the project for two years with more than 100 map makers across the world. He said Earth was deliberately designed as a celebration of publishing at a time when the craft of hand binding is disappearing.
Mr Smith said: ‘You can of course find all kinds of geographic information on the web but we hope people will enjoy this exquisite atlas for its own sake for generations to come. Its beauty and unprecedented level of detail make it the ultimate book about our world.’
Stanfords Manager Andrew Steed said: ‘We are delighted to have Earth on display. It is without doubt a unique offering with both highly detailed maps and quite stunning images which I’m sure will be of great interest to our customers.’