Never let it be said that an ebook lover can’t appreciate a well-made paper book. This morning at Gen Con, I ran into a couple of people with the most fascinating hand-made books. I spoke to Matthew Webb, a Creative Partner with LARP company Jackalope Live Action Studios, about the The Book of Nine Scribes Kickstarter project by his partner, prop-maker Steven E. Metze.

This project will fund artisan-quality hand-made copies of a Lovecraftian sorcerous tome. Although the tome is an original work of fiction, the books available as add-ons are reproductions of various (public-domain) real-world occult works from the era, including Raphael’s Ancient Manuscript of Talismanic Magic, Demonality, Agrippa’s Book One, Book Two, & Book Three of the Occult, The Malleus Maleficarum, and Dictionnaire Infernal.

The books are mostly faithful reproductions, Webb explained, though they did add some illustrations to The Malleus Maleficarum from a companion work, just because the people ordering it felt it would be more dramatic for the ancient tome to have ancient illustrations in it as well as ancient text.

Having examined three of them and felt of them with my own hands, I can tell you that the quality of these books is top-notch. As you can see from the photo gallery below, they’re printed on genuine hand-made cotton paper, and hand-bound into genuine goatskin. And just as you’d expect, these books are not cheap. They start at $125 for the smallest, Raphael’s Manuscript, and go up from there. The Book of Nine Scribes itself is $325, or $375 with the ancient metal bracket and lock (with key) to keep it secret.

However, these are not books that you would buy to read. These are beautiful artifacts, objets d’art, produced the same way real books would have been made in bygone centuries (well, at at least insofar as the materials go; the printing itself may be another matter since books from that era would probably have been scribed by hand). They would be perfect as props in films, live-action roleplay, or simply to give your library an air of ancient mystery and magic.

The Kickstarter runs until August 16, 2018. As of this writing, it has raised $54,045 of a $5,000 goal.

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