Rare Books Edinburgh is a new initiative to celebrate book history and rare and collectable books. From the first printing in Scotland in 1508, through the world-changing books of the Scottish Enlightenment, to high spots of modern collectable books that owe their existence to Edinburgh coffee shops, along with the studies and collections at major institutions from the University of Edinburgh to the National Library of Scotland, the city of Edinburgh has one of the richest histories and greatest resources for books and book history in the Anglophone world.
This new festival will be an annual event centred around the Edinburgh Book Fair, Scotland's largest gathering of rare & collectable booksellers - a joint initiative between the Antiquarian Booksellers Association and the Provincial Booksellers Fairs Association. Many other organisations are planning and hosting events. For more details please see the programme and participants.
Far from being threatened by modern technology and e-readers, the book remains an impeccably designed cultural object, and the way that people have written, published, owned, read, and used books will forever be a vital part of the history of humanity. Furthermore, compared to furniture, art, textiles - even baseball cards - historic and collectable books are remarkably affordable and accessible.
New publications and living authors are feted each year at the Edinburgh International Book Festival, and Book Week Scotland encourages reading across the country. Rare Books Edinburgh seeks to complement these by bringing together institutions, collections, scholars, collectors, and book-lovers to celebrate other aspects of the book - and especially the sheer joy of holding and engaging with rare and historical books in ways that are almost impossible with any other type of object or artefact.