(29 December 2014) The iGroup, based in Bangkok, Thailand, has made publishing history with the publication of the 21st Century Edition of The Birds of America by John James Audubon (1785 to 1851). Publication is limited to 100 sets.
To renew Audubon’s masterpiece for the 21st century, the iGroup Press and Japan’s Yushodo have photographed the original edition of The Birds of America at Meisei University, Japan, using an 80 megapixel camera. The images have been digitally processed for the first time and printed on specially made paper.
To accommodate the very large illustrations, The Birds of America 21st Century Edition is published as a double elephant folio some 40 inches tall and 28 inches wide, equivalent to 100 by 68 centimeters, the exact size of Audubon’s original edition published from 1827 to 1839.
Craftsmen in Japan have handmade each book with care, resulting in a limited edition of 100 sets of four volumes as elegant as the originals. The result is an edition of fine detail, a completely new and never-before-seen version of The Birds of America that will be treasured by generations to come.
Owners of the new edition are offered an optional digital copy and a 55 inch touch screen LED panel providing magnification of up to 200 percent allowing the fine brush strokes and subtlety of Audubon’s art and draftsmanship to be viewed in the highest resolution for the first time.
Acknowledged as one of the most important and beautiful color plate books ever published, The Birds of America is also one of the rarest and most collectable. Of those which have survived, thirteen are owned by individuals and 106 by institutions. Only two sets are known to be in the Asia Pacific region, one at The State Library of Victoria in Australia, the other at Meisei University, Japan.
The Economist (2010) in its ranking of the world’s most expensive books has five places in the top ten occupied by The Birds of America.
On 7 December 2010, The Birds of America became the most expensive book of all time when it was sold at auction in London to an anonymous buyer for GB£7,300,000 the equivalent of US$11,500,000. It beat the previous record of US$10,200,000 also fetched by another copy of The Birds of America in 2000.
The Birds of America 21st Century Edition by contrast, is affordable and will appeal to collectors, libraries, galleries, museums and businesses. Consult the catalog here. (pdf, 1.18MB) Visit the website here.
Contact the iGroup Press, [email protected] for further details about the numbered limited edition and the availability of individual prints.