Trinity College Dublin you can pay €9 (about $13.50 U.S.) to see the original Book of Kells. It's said to be one of the oldest illuminated manuscripts in existence, and perhaps the most beautiful. I mean to visit Trinity College Dublin ASAP.
The First Folio of Shakespeare, printed in 1623 not long after Shakespeare's death, is less rare. Scholars believe that about 750 originals were printed. After nearly 400 years, 228 still exist. That's a pretty good ratio. One of them lives at the Huntington Library and Gardens, right here in San Marino. Often, you can see the Huntington's First Folio displayed under glass, in the same room as their Gutenberg Bible.
There are those who say "under glass" view will soon be the norm with the most common of hard-bound books. Maybe. In fact, sure, why not? I've always loved hard-bound books for their beauty, even when I used to buy them new. I even have a Pinterest board called "Books As Beauty." But hardbacks are getting so expensive, if you actually read a lot you can't afford them, unless you buy them used.
There's a huff-puff lately about whether or not digital books will replace print. I don't think they will, though as digital readers become easier to use (and not so ugly, please), more people will use them for their convenience, not to mention the price. Since the beginning of time, humans have been all about convenience. Since money was invented, we've been all about getting it cheap. I don't know when money was invented, or when time began.
Just like movies didn't kill radio, and TV didn't kill movies, and video didn't kill TV, digital books are not going to kill print books. Print books may die, but that'll be suicide, not murder.
I hope you'll check out my guest post on Blurb Is A Verb, the blog of Sarah Pinneo, author of Julia's Child. I love the tag line for her book: "A delectable comedy for every woman who has ever wondered if buying that $6 box of organic crackers makes her a hero or a sucker." My post is called Everything Takes Longer Than You Think It Will. Feel free to leave a comment!