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31 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Book lovers' delight
This volume is a departure from the usual OUP "companion" format. The first volume consists largely of substantial essays on book-related essays, the remaining pages being given over to the more conventional dictionary format. It is also physically larger: two substantial quarto volumes that are lovely to look at but comparatively unwieldy to handle.
The contents...
Published on March 13, 2010 by David Radcliffe

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8 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A real disappointment
This work has received good to outstanding reviews, of the kind that raised expectations that this was a dream buy but one which might be fulfilled. If the price, not unreasonable in itself, is a problem, then it is sad to find that even libraries and major bookstores (in the UK) do not have a copy for inspection. Having now tracked down a set, I can only express my...
Published on January 14, 2011 by ws


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31 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Book lovers' delight, March 13, 2010
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This review is from: The Oxford Companion to the Book (Hardcover)
This volume is a departure from the usual OUP "companion" format. The first volume consists largely of substantial essays on book-related essays, the remaining pages being given over to the more conventional dictionary format. It is also physically larger: two substantial quarto volumes that are lovely to look at but comparatively unwieldy to handle.
The contents resemble some other less-useful companions in being decidedly academic in character. The professional specialties get extensive treatment, the notion of "book" is extended to cover material from the beginning of writing systems to the latest (as of a couple of years ago) in digital texts, and the prefatory essays give the history of the book global scope. There is less color and humor than one might hope for in a more companionable companion.
If the entries are small, they are useful starting-points for investigations that will inevitably lead users to the internet where space is not an issue. In that respect the OUP has done the right and indeed a very clever thing in making a kind of ur-book out of this companion: as a physical object it is the state of the art in reference-book production with lovely typography, heavy paper, and binding that shouts "I am a book!"
Indeed it is, and a timely book that fills a large gap in the shelf. No one does reference books better than OUP and they went al-out on this signature production. The price is steep but warranted by the quality of the product.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Admirable Artifact, April 13, 2010
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This review is from: The Oxford Companion to the Book (Hardcover)
Two terrific tomes totaling 1,327 pages. The first 172 pages contain assorted essays on the physical development of the book. The next 271 pages consist of country-by-country histories of book publishing, distribution, related economic issues, etc. This section is justifiably Eurocentric and makes interesting reading. The final 884 pages comprise an alphabetic dictionary/encyclopedia of book terms, publishers, printers, collectors, booksellers, etc. This section generally does not include entries for individual authors (no Hemingway, Joyce, Milton, Dickens) but does mention a few names such as Jonson and Shakespeare with regard to their role in the history of the printed word. Likewise, specific literary works are not mentioned except for a handful of historical landmark publications.

The books are of high quality, strongly bound, and, surprisingly, lay pleasurably open for reading. I rather wish the slipcase had been traditionally bookish...the publisher's tablecloth pattern would seem more at home among the cookbooks in the kitchen than in one's library. Perhaps a nice can of leather-brown spray paint...it's an old trick but it might just work.
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28 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Book Lovers Paradise, March 5, 2010
This review is from: The Oxford Companion to the Book (Hardcover)
Office desktop reference books can many times come across as spatially challenged ogres hogging slab space from more efficient Google accessible E-equipment. Not so with "The Oxford Companion to the Book," a compilation of the recorded word in all its forms and applications throughout history (1408 pages, Publisher: Oxford University Press).

Ruminate on Hieroglyphics, Cuneiform Tablets, Papyrus, The Gutenberg Bible hot off the first press, and E-books infused directly in your computer or phone.

This behemoth is a powerful and almost exhaustive work on the evolution and impact of the book. Over a million words contained in two volumes, this is a book of books and has numerous features that would blow away the swiftest fingers on the most commanding search engine.

If you find words, books, manuscripts, tomes, hardbacks, paperbacks, literature, treatises, and the like irresistible, you will take great delight in this nearly comprehensive set.

Topics incorporated within these two substantial hardbacks are:

- The work of 400 scholars from over 25 countries
- Information on fonts and print
- Ancient and modern writing instruments
- Etymology
- Philology
- Colophons
- Odd and interesting finer points of literature and word assemblages.

Vast, deep, this labor takes you where few men have been at one time in one place. Even with the wonderful new internet resources available and its large price tag--book lovers, scholars, literature buffs, and information freaks will not regret purchasing this magnificent book on books.
The Necessary Existence of God: The Proof of Christianity Through Presuppositional Apologetics
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars History of the book, September 13, 2010
This review is from: The Oxford Companion to the Book (Hardcover)
I just got my copy of this, it's a beautiful 2 volume set quarter bound in leather in a slipcase. It's really a reference work so won't be reading it cover to cover, but it's really nice to have and extremely informative on anything and everything to do with books. It's about the history of the book...it's 1400 pages and over a million words....51 essays and 5160 A-Z entries. From the introduction...we have endeavoured to produce a book that reflects a passion for the artefact,a fascination with the many aspects of bibliography and book history, and a deep regard for the archive. 398 scholars from 27 countries contributed. Many of the essays are on the history of the book in various parts of the world but there are essays on paper, electronic books,bookbinding, children's books etc. It's quite an achievement.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Forthcoming Alternative, September 27, 2013
By 
Dennis Webb (Accokeek, MD USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Oxford Companion to the Book (Hardcover)
If you can't afford these beautiful volumes, please note that OUP will release a volume called "The Book: A Global History" on December 1, 2013, consisting of the 51 essays contained in volume one of this set. The announced price will be $36 in hardcover. Just FYI. See the Amazon listing for further details.
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8 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A real disappointment, January 14, 2011
This review is from: The Oxford Companion to the Book (Hardcover)
This work has received good to outstanding reviews, of the kind that raised expectations that this was a dream buy but one which might be fulfilled. If the price, not unreasonable in itself, is a problem, then it is sad to find that even libraries and major bookstores (in the UK) do not have a copy for inspection. Having now tracked down a set, I can only express my disappointment; not at the content, but the failure to make the volumes 'a buy whatever the cost'. The production, binding excepted, is pedestrian. And the ill-conceived decision to split the dictionary across the two volumes is regrettable and ignores the way the work would be used.

A real disappointment. And the sad conclusion that the money needed to puchase it could be better spent. But a paperback edition (at a reasonable price) in due course would be welcome.

Higher production standards have been set by others, not least Yale UP.
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The Oxford Companion to the Book
The Oxford Companion to the Book by Michael Suarez (Hardcover - February 8, 2010)
$345.00 $327.75
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