December 2017 | Rebecca Rego Barry

The Rarest Book in the World and Other Bibliophilic Factoids

Book Lovers Misc.jpgLast year we featured "5 Facts You Might Not Know About the Bodleian Library," a listicle based on Claire Cock-Starkey's book, Bodleianalia. In that same sprit, we share five tidbits gleaned from her newest work, The Book Lovers' Miscellany ($17.50), a perfect little gift book of bibliophilic wisdom with topics ranging from how to identify a first edition to a brief history of the Frankfurt Book Fair to book towns around the world. 

1. The rarest book in the world is a 1593 first edition of Venus and Adonis by William Shakespeare. The Bodleian's copy "is the only known copy of this book in existence."

2. The first book ordered on Amazon was a scientific tome called Fluid Concepts and Creative Analogies: Computer Models of the Fundamental Mechanisms of Thought by Douglas Hofstadter.

3. Agatha Christie is the most translated author in the world with 7,233 distinct translated editions. Jules Verne runs a distant second with 4,751 distinct translated editions.

4. James Joyce's Dubliners was rejected twenty-two times before a publisher agreed to a small print run.

5. At 1,466 years old, the Leiden Herbaria at Leiden University Library is one of the oldest surviving intact books in the world.

Image: Courtesy of the University of Chicago Press