What makes for a good publishing house?
If you have ever come across a Folio Society edition, you would know that the gold standard has been set in term of carefully curated and crafted books. With a history spanning over seven decades, Folio Society has perfectioned the reimagining of what is arguably considered the timeless crème de la crème of what both the realms of fiction and non-fiction have to offer.
Now, what from a distance might sound like a uniform approach that is imposed on classic literature, could not be further from how Folio society channels its alchemy as each individual book gets a contextualised, customised treatments with the common denominator being attention to detail and quality pertaining to each and every facet of production: Nothing is left up to chance, starting with typography, illustration, paper, and printing and binding techniques create a unique whole that is much bigger than the individual facets contributing to it.
In essence, Folio Society’s approach could be considered the publishing equivalent to Proust’s writing, as it allows the beholder to hit the pause button and indulge in both what the books are conveying and the related enhanced reading experience as well as the beauty of its physical manifestation.
Apart from aesthetics, Folio Society not only conducts extensive fact checking and amends imperfections of sources texts, but offers additional insights through authors that introduce the respective titles and serve as the reader’s companion to set the scene.
An example par excellence for Folio Society’s standards is their updated version of the classic Images of America in Rock 'n' Roll Music by Greil Marcus. Anyone remotely into rock music should be familiar with the original version and Folio Society’s reimagining: Mystery Train takes the source material and amplifies it to eleven with more archive material and opulently illustrated album cover, accompanying the photographs chronicling the evolution of rock ‘n’ roll from its blues cradle via its derivations to highlight that no matter the nuances, it is essentially weaved into the fabric of American culture.
File under book porn.
Having a keen interest in anglophone cultures and linguism, David Crystal’s commanding The Stories of English is another classic book that I could not wait to see incarnate with the Folio Society treatment.
Enhanced by additional material, wonderful typography and binding, Folio Society’s The Stories of English not only continues where the original left off, but expertly closes the gap to the present day and age, including a highly interesting appendix where Crystal comments on the impact social media and modern technology have had on our diction and ever-evolving language.
images from Folio Society website