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Last Updated: Tuesday, 16 December, 2003, 17:44 GMT
World's largest book is unveiled
The book's author, Michael Hawley, partially obscured in background, looks at his book
The book could flatten someone if it fell over
The world's biggest-ever book has been launched in the US - but it is not for bedtime reading.

The book weighs 60 kilograms (133 pounds) and the pages are two metres wide (seven foot).

Michael Hawley, a scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, is the author of the 122-page book about the Asian country of Bhutan.

The limited edition book is on sale for $10,000, with profits going to the charity he founded, Friendly Planet.

The charity builds schools in Cambodia and Bhutan.

Guinness World Records has certified Mr Hawley's work as the biggest book published. Five hundred copies have been produced.

Picture display

The book, Bhutan: A Visual Odyssey Across the Kingdom measures 1.5 metres by two metres (five-by-seven feet). It is photographic account of a journey across the kingdom of Bhutan.

I thought there was an old-fashioned mechanism that might work - it's called a book
Michael Hawley
Mr Hawley has led a number of students to expeditions to Cambodia and Bhutan and thought he could raise money for education there by putting together some of the pictures he had gathered.

He said he had not set out to make the world's largest book, but he discovered, while playing around with a digital printer, how spectacular large digital images can look, especially Bhutan which is a country full of colour in its everyday life.

Michael Hawley
The book is not one to curl up with
"What I really wanted was a 5-by-7-foot chunk of wall that would let me change the picture every day," he said.

"And I thought there was an old-fashioned mechanism that might work. It's called the book."

But he said people should not think of it as a book but as "a gigantic picture gallery where you can change the picture every day".

He said it was not a bedtime book as it could flatten the reader if it fell over.

Despite the hefty price tag, Mr Hawley said he had already received two dozen orders of the book.

Country profile: Bhutan
03 Dec 03  |  Country profiles

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