My copy of the new edition of I.33 arrived last week, and it is a swordwielding bibliophile’s wet dream. Not only is the reproduction effectively perfect, but the companion volume by Dr Forgeng is a complete and revised transcription and translation, with a detailed introduction that takes into account the last decade of scholarship since the last translation was done. We now know, for instance, which pages are missing, and have an idea of what they may have contained.
More than this though, the books themselves are shining examples of the bookbinder’s craft, and gorgeous in every detail. Printed on the finest paper, stitched together as books ought to be, the only negative is that they make almost every other book in my library look shoddy. As a writer I now have only one ambition. Write a book so good that Extraordinary Editions will publish it like this. And I now finally have a reason to want to get rich. I could get these guys to do me one of every treatise I care about. Oh yes baby, training fees are now 2000 euros a day…
But seriously, the fourteen reasons why you should buy this book are:
Reason 1: The Books:
This pair of books is astonishing. It comes in a beautiful red solander, lined inside with watered silk. And there she is, bound in goatskin, waiting to be picked up and fondled:
Open her up and an involuntary gasp of awe escapes, as well it might: the reproduction is perfect. I've seen the original, and this is exactly what it looks like, just with straight edges.
And then the companion volume, nestled in its space:
With the entire treatise, the images ghosted under the transcription and translation:
Following an insightful and thorough introduction by the top 1.33 scholar, Dr Forgeng:
The asking price is only 750 UK pounds. Seven hundred and fifty bleeding quid for a book! I hear you cry? Ah yes my friend, it seems like a lot. And indeed, it represents about two weeks upkeep of my salle, or a major chunk of my take-home salary (swordsmen don’t make much these days, bring back the middle ages!).
Reason 2: it's the right thing to do:
It is a lot of money, I know. But it is exactly what the Art of Swordsmanship is all about. Quality over quantity, serving the Art, doing things as perfectly as possible, bringing our heritage back to life; in all sorts of ways this project represents everything I founded my school for. Supporting it was a no-brainer, and hang the cost.
Reason 3: customer service
So you might be a bit careful regarding, for instance, customer service. Are Extraordinary Editions a company you can trust? Well, a good company a) keeps you informed b) does what it says it will and c) handles complaints quickly and fairly. Extraordinary Editions kept us subscribers informed about developments and delays, at just the right rate. Enough to know that our money was in safe hands, but not annoyingly frequent. They produced a fabulous product reasonably on time. And when my solander arrived with some corner damage, they shipped me a new one immediately, without my having to go to the trouble and expense of returning the old one. So they get maximum points for customer service.
Now let’s put that wodge of dosh into perspective, shall we? For that kind of money, you could get a brand new iGadget. So what are the pros and cons?
How long will these two things last, assuming they are both looked after?
What is the cost per year of satisfied ownership?
Which one is not likely to make a noise and distract you while you are reading?
Which one will not suck half your life away into the inanity of Twitbook?
Which one is not made with slave labour in foreign lands?
Which one supports traditional craftsmanship of the highest order?
Which one smells of leather and scholarship?
Which one has an infinite battery life?
Which one will be passed down the generations?
Which one will keep its value, and may well be worth more in 10 years time than the current price, taking inflation into account?
And finally, Reason 14, buy this book because:
If this project is successful financially, they might do another one! Repeat after me: PleasedoFiore, pleasedoFiore, pleasedoFiore, pleasedoFiore, pleasedoFiore, pleasedoFiore, pleasedoFiore, pleasedoFiore, pleasedoFiore, pleasedoFiore, pleasedoFiore…..
Update: while Extraordinary Editions didn't do Fiore, Michael Chidester has, and to the same kind of standard. Holy crap, what a book.