Disclaimer: I have not been contacted or paid to write this editorial about The Folio Society. I am endorsing this company through my own volition and belief in the high quality of its products.
Those of you who have been following my blog for some time will have noticed a trend of lovely books popping up every now and then, all of which were made by a company called The Folio Society. I love paperbacks as much as the next reader, but sometimes there are editions created not only to celebrate the work of art that is the story; these copies seek to elevate the book into a work of art itself through the craftsmanship and design put into them. The Folio Society creates just such books, but what is The Folio Society, and why do I feel so passionate about what it is they do?
Since I am rather lazy and didn’t feel like paraphrasing the organization’s explanation of itself, the passages below have been taken from The Folio Society website’s About page:
“Founded in London in 1947, The Folio Society publishes carefully crafted editions of the world’s finest literature. We believe that great books deserve to be presented in a form worthy of their contents. For nearly 70 years we have celebrated the unique joy to be derived from owning, holding and reading a beautiful printed edition.
Beautifully crafted, imaginative editions of the world’s great works of fiction and non-fiction, Folio Society books offer a rich literary experience to readers of all ages. The books we select for publication are timeless – we know they will be enjoyed and appreciated now and in the future. Because each book is considered as an individual object of value in its own right, there is a variety to our aesthetic – the only uniformity is in the quality of every single book.”
See? Well said, no? Now, despite the amount of backlash and my general disdain for them, Facebook ads are what pointed me to these illustrious editions of some of my favorite tomes. As much as I dislike the idea of corporations seeing my personal spending and social media habits, this is one of the few times it has paid off. Some time last year, I saw an ad for the Folio Society’s edition of American Gods written by Neil Gaiman and illustrated by long-time collaborator, Dave McKean; I knew I just had to own this volume of one of my favorite books, and set about saving up to buy a copy.
These books do come with a heftier price tag than most hardcovers, but that is because they are far and above anything typical. Each book, despite being different in a myriad of design elements, is created with quality at the forefront of the process. The illustrated editions that feature commissioned artwork are spectacular in their envisioning of the characters and events in each book, while the slipcase designs and book themselves could stand alone as works of art. The Folio Society has a diverse selection of books to choose from; nonfiction, science fiction and fantasy, children’s books, and limited edition pieces of great value to name a few.
In today’s society, social media presence, or the lack thereof, will make or break a business. The Folio Society has multiple platforms across which they post upcoming trailers of new releases and behind the scenes videos of the artists who work on the illustrations. Its presence is active and engaging, replying to customers and sending out marketing emails that go into further detail about each collection as it is released. These books, being of such high quality and price-point, make fantastic gifts. If know a reader who has a specific, favorite book, chances are that The Folio Society has an edition that can be purchased in order to give a thoughtful gift a reader will cherish for the rest of their lives. The copy of Casino Royale by Ian Fleming pictured above is one that I got my father for his birthday last year since we bonded (pun slightly intended) over watching the movies when I was a boy; I wrote a short inscription in the book at his request and this personal touch ensures it is something that will remind him of that birthday.
We live in a time where reading is continually seen as something people don’t have time for, though they wish they did. For those of us who read habitually because of the benefits and joy we get out of it, The Folio Society exists to bring even more value to the stories we love. The books are crafted by masters, illustrated by virtuosos, and made with a loving passion that can be felt in each cloth-bound tome. I will not lie about the price of these books; they are not the kind you can collect a little pocket change to purchase, but that is because their value far surpasses the quality of the materials with which they are made. For any aspiring bibliophile or someone looking for a gorgeous edition of their favorite book to bring a little more prestige to their bookshelf, I recommend The Folio Society; I currently own five editions myself and plan on buying more (once I save up a little again).