CHARLESTOWN, MASSACHUSETTS, December 15, 2003 —
The world's oldest book bindery is now also the world's "largest book" bindery.
Acme Bookbinding of Charlestown, MA., is the exclusive builder of the world's largest book. Announced today in New York by the book's creator, Michael Hawley of MIT, Bhutan: A Visual Odyssey across the last Himalayan Kingdom is an enormous photographic book that opens to 5x7 feet and weighs 133 pounds. According to the Guinness World Records, it is the largest published book. Manufacturing the book was no small feat. "You can't just snap sheets of paper that size into a three-ring binder," said Hawley. "But when we first began printing, we hadn't really thought through to the binding of it. I wish I could say I was a genius and selected the best book bindery in the world for this job. But the truth is, I opened the yellow pages and picked the first name off the list: Acme. Luckily for us, they turned out to be the best book bindery in the world for this job. In fact, Acme is one of very few binderies in the world that could manage it with the attention and care required. Not surprisingly they combine flinty New England ingenuity with a true Bostonian passion for the printed word."
The giant tome is intended to stand on an easel or lean against the wall. In order to keep the pages from drooping, Acme designed a unique hybrid binding that combines an Asian fan-folded structure with European-style elements. In addition to strength, the fan-folding makes possible the display of seven-foot wide image spreads. This requires very precise page folds in order to maintain clean edges and structural integrity, and the folds need to be millimeter-accurate over the entire 400 feet of paper. To accomplish this, Acme's engineers designed and built a very large folding bench with a pneumatic pressing clamp for precision creasing. Nevertheless, each hand-built volume is a big undertaking, and requires two days of assembly time.
"The book is a masterpiece," says Paul Parisi, president of Acme. "It's a little like having an incredible larger-than-life art gallery in one volume. So crafting the binding to match that level of beauty became a labor of love for us."
Bhutan is available exclusively on Amazon.com. It is offered to donors who make a $10,000 or greater contribution to Friendly Planet, a 501(c)-3 nonprofit charity. Proceeds are tax-deductible and are donated in support of Bhutanese schools and scholars. To learn more or to order Bhutan, visit: http://www.friendlyplanet.com or www.amazon.com/bhutan.
About Acme Bookbinding: A family-owned business in Charlestown, Massachusetts, and with a lineage dating back to the J.G.Roberts Company in 1821 and the Harvard bindery before that, Acme Bookbinding is the oldest continuously operated bookbindery in the world. It is a 150-employee company in a 100,000 square foot facility that provides a full array of book production services: case binding, perfect binding, library binding, textbook rebinding, legal binding, foil stamping, facsimile reproduction, and digital printing of on-demand short-run books. As the premier library binder in the country, Acme is perfectly position to serve the magnificent array of research libraries in the New England area as well as other businesses throughout the USA.
About Friendly PlanetFriendly Planet, a nonprofit company, helps children give to and learn from each other across great divides. For example, in rural Cambodia, it costs just $25,000 to build a whole school big enough for 500 kids. Helping to create schools like these, and giving young kids real reasons to be engaged, is part of Friendly Planet's mission.
Pete Merill-Oldham, firstname.lastname@example.org, 617-242-1100