about the find:

The map and pamphlet came with the book (published 1837), and are interesting enough on their own, but what really makes this book stand out to me is the way the spine is coming away to reveal that the binders had reused some other printed material to bolster the spine.

It’s all in French – but it’s printed by A Spottiswoode, New Street Square, London, which is odd – why would a London publisher use French offcuts to strengthen their books?

Being in French, I can’t make out what it was about, but it’s interesting to see what the publishers were doing.


an early example of recycling!

by u24

Thats pretty interesting as to why….

by a guest user

secret messages! this book was on its way to a French spy in England at the time, but before she had time to cut open the cover of the book to reveal the hidden instructions, she was discovered! how tragic.

by a guest user

that’s certainly one theory! :D

by u24

This is actually pretty cool. I like the French spy idea though, seems fitting!!
Keep us updated if you find any info about this book though, I am pretty sure you can take it to a language expert or something.

by a guest user

It was common practise to use scrap material in bindings, particulary the spines. Why use new paper when there’s plenty of unused printed waste. I would be interested to know when this practise stopped, I know it went on into the 20th century. I have a copy of a Richard Jefferies book in the St. Martin’s Library series published by Chatto & Windus in 1904 which has the spine falling off to reveal what looks like a piece of a novel. I’m sure I’ve found more recent examples.
And as for being printed in French by a London printer, this too is not unusual. For an even earlier example have a look at the details of Mémoires of Anne-Louise d’Orléans


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