A Folio Society edition is, I reckon, as excellent an
accolade as any author can achieve these days
Founded in London in 1947, The Folio Society publishes carefully crafted editions of the world’s finest literature. We believe that great books deserve to be presented in a form worthy of their contents. For over 70 years we have celebrated the unique joy to be derived from owning, holding and reading a beautiful printed edition.
Beautifully crafted, imaginative editions of the world’s great works of fiction and non-fiction, Folio Society books offer a rich literary experience to readers of all ages. The books we select for publication are timeless – we know they will be enjoyed and appreciated now and in the future. Because each book is considered as an individual object of value in its own right, there is a variety to our aesthetic – the only uniformity is in the quality of every single book.
What Makes Folio Special?
‘Folio books are such joy ... to be cherished, handled with pleasure, read and reread and handed down to the next generation’
P. D. James
A Folio book is a unique object, one in which typography, illustration, paper, and printing and binding techniques all play a part in creating a harmonious whole. The Folio Society has celebrated the particular joy to be derived from owning, holding and reading a beautiful printed edition. Our aim is to create books that are unique in their aesthetic and in their quality – this is what makes a Folio collection something to cherish.
In the digital age, information is served to us instantaneously. Success is measured by speed, and we can dispose of the written word at the click of a mouse. This is why Folio books are the perfect tonic. We offer the reader an opportunity to pause and reflect; to spend time appreciating beauty and wisdom. The books we select for publication are timeless – and in the editions we produce, they will be enjoyed and valued now and in generations to come.
Folio editors lavish care and attention on each individual book in a way that other publishing companies simply cannot afford to do. Because the range of books we publish is so diverse, so too is our approach. From choosing the best translations to negotiating revisions with authors; from fact-checking at specialist libraries across the world to emending textual imperfections, which often creep into modern editions of classic works, we aspire to give our readers an enhanced experience of their favourite books. And for additional insight, we select introducers to act as the reader’s companion, whetting the appetite and setting the book and its author in context. Peter Ackroyd, Irvine Welsh, Colm Tóibín, Margaret Atwood, Tom Holland, Saul David, Jenny Uglow and Julian Barnes are just some of the acclaimed writers who have recently contributed to Folio publications.
All Things Typographical
At Folio an immense amount of creative energy is spent on typography. It should be pleasing to the eye, never intrusive and generously sized. Yet while the traditional virtues of legibility and elegance are paramount, there is also immense scope for inventiveness. Each typographical decision is carefully made to suit the character of the individual book.
The art of the book illustration
Those who love Folio books know to look for the treasures within. We commission illustrations by emerging talents including Jonathan Burton, Jillian Tamaki, Sam Weber, and Anna and Elena Balbusso, or seasoned masters such as Quentin Blake, Paula Rego, John Vernon Lord and Tom Phillips. Wood engravings, paintings, collages, pen and ink, digital ... variety is at the heart of Folio’s remarkable catalogue of commissioned artwork. And in a celebrated range of non-fiction books, our team of picture researchers know how to unearth images that are truly worth a thousand words.
Designing a Folio book
‘Books have been published for me since 1952; I have never seen one better turned out as a piece of typography and book production’
M. R. D. Foot, author of SOE
Head and tail Bands
We include decorative head and tail bands, and gilded or coloured top edges where we feel it is appropriate.
A distinctive feature of our books, and the traditional protective covering of fine editions.
Our bindings incorporate a complexity of design and materials which place them in a class of their own and require exceptional manufacturing standards. All of our books are sewn in 16-page sections, and, most importantly, are bound to the highest standard, so they not only look good on the shelf, but are a pleasure to read.
It is essential that the manufacturing process maintains the highest standards in every copy. Each book is carefully monitored for evenness of ink-weight and freedom from blemishes.