One of the most common
questions is if an electronic version of the book is
available and how it can be obtained.
The answer is no, no
The electronic version is
not available and is not being planned.
Part of the reason is of
legal nature. Some illustrations were procured from museums,
and the agreement allows their use only in a paper edition.
Certainly, pictures can be
bought and the agreement rewritten. I will not, however, do
it because I do not want to make the book available in the
If you have already held
the book in your hands, or even if you saw
examples of pages,
you would have noticed the rather specific nature of this
publication, with a very large number of pictures,
footnotes, and cross-references. It was, from the very
beginning, conceived and written as a paper book. My deep
conviction is that an electronic version of such material,
if it could exist, cannot be one large .PDF or some other
type of file but only as a separate site with an extensive
system of hypertext links. The
making and support of such a site is a big project that I'm
neither ready nor willing to do. The making of this book
very large number of people
put in a lot of effort, and I think the readers who are
truly interested in the book will not mind making an effort
to work with the paper version and paying for it.
Finally, I think that in
the modern, top-to-bottom digitalized world, there should
remain objects in their original, the non-digital form.
Among these is this book, with its weight and size, its
smell of the printing shop that is still quite noticeable,
with its smooth pages to be touched. With the joy from
contact with a real live book.