A new chapter is beginning for thousands of old books from the National Library of France (BnF), which are finding their way back into stores: Hachette Livre has joined forces with the BnF to offer a service for reprinting identical one-off copies of certain gems of France’s literary and historic heritage taken from rare-book collections.
Several thousand books published between the 15th and 19th centuries, selected from among the most frequently consulted titles on Gallica (the BnF’s digital library), can now be sold by any bookstore.
This exciting new catalogue covers topics including art, crafts, French history, literature, philosophy, music, genealogy, and cuisine. Informed readers, researchers, enthusiasts and aficionados will be able to find rare works like L’art des jardins by Édouard André, the fruit of 20 years’ research and the manual for generations of landscape designers; La bonne cuisine française by Émile Dumont, a cookbook that received an award at the 1889 World Expo and was reprinted 32 times in the early 20th century; the 1858 edition of the Traité pratique et raisonné des plantes Médicinales indigènes by François-Joseph Cazin; and even a 1484 edition of Aesop’s Fables, translated from Latin into French and featuring remarkable illustrations.
Through the dedicated website at www.hachettebnf.fr, users can view all of the books available in the catalogue by topic, and see an excerpt from each work before ordering a copy from whichever bookstore they prefer.
Thanks to printing-on-demand, a digital technology capable of printing a single copy in just a few hours, these works are delivered to bookstores just as quickly as other books taken from inventory, and are sold at prices ranging from €6 to €40.
More than 40,000 titles are currently available for sale, and the catalogue will be expanded over the coming months to include 65,000 works selected from among the 200,000 listings available on Gallica.