Books as Objects of Beauty, Blood Sport

One way of dealing with ebooks is to run full-speed in the opposite direction: toward the book as luxurious fetish, rather than $9.99 worth of bare-bones words on an electronic screen.

A handful of publishers have decided that the way to make books appealing is to put blood, sweat, and tears into producing a beautiful object. Literally, sometimes:

For $75,000, you can buy a piece of Indian cricket star Sachin Tendulkar.

Luxury publisher Kraken Opus mixed in a pint of Mr. Tendulkar’s blood with paper pulp to create the signature page for a book celebrating the renowned batsman’s career. The 10 limited-edition copies, which comes out in February, cost $75,000 each and have already sold out.

Kraken is one of a handful of high-end publishing houses that are pushing the boundaries of extravagance and novelty in the luxury book market….”No one says, ‘I want to download the e-edition of this book,’ ” says book analyst Michael Norris of research firm Simba Information. “If it’s a physical object that’s beautifully done, people see the value.”

We enjoy the human touch; alas, we don’t have a spare $75,000 sitting around. We’ll make do with some snappily designed covers and nice feeling paper, we guess.

Books as Objects of Beauty, Blood Sport