By 17 August 2011 | Categories: news


In what is undoubtedly a scoop for iPad users and rare book aficionados, the British Library has launched its eBook Treasures series, which allows iPad users to download and purchase entire rare manuscripts. Each eBook will enable users to access further content and in-depth detail about the manuscript, including written, video and audio interpretation. The eBooks, which are viewable full-screen, also feature page-turning and can be viewed offline.

The first manuscript available will be famous inventor and artist Leonardo da Vinci’s Codex Arundel. The British Library explained that The Codex Arundel, penned in between1508 and 1510, is one of da Vinci’s most prolific notebooks filled with illustrations and written in ‘mirror script’.  It elaborated that his manuscript documents scientific and technological practice before the scientific revolution and is considered to be one of the most important sources for understanding da Vinci’s work as a natural philosopher, engineer and artist.

However, that is only the start of rare manuscripts that iPad users will have access to. Mercator’s Atlas of Europe will be launched alongside da Vinci’s Codex, and the library reported that it would be adding seventy five rare titles over the next two years, either as complete editions or as a selection of highlights. The library elaborated that these would include  Alice’s Adventures Underground (written between 1862 and 1864), Carroll’s handwritten and illustrated original of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland; William Blake’s notebook (1700s) and Jane Austen’s The History of England (1791); The Tyndale Bible (1526), the first English language Bible to appear in print and Beethoven’s Pastoral Sketchbook (1808).

“Users can now hold rare, unique and original manuscripts in their hands and explore them in depth and in high-definition,” stated the British Library on its site. The eBook Treasures are available for download world-wide from the iBookstore.  Da Vinci’s Codex Arundel HD Highlights will cost £3.99 (R46) while the Codex Arundel complete version will have a £9.99 (R117) pricetag.

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