By AMBER STAHR
A rare copy of the Book of Mormon meets modern technology in a new digital facsimile on CD ROM.
Octavo Corporation of Palo Alto, Calif., released its first religious edition digital facsimile of a rare book on CD ROM Sept. 14.
“The Book of Mormon is one perfect example of how one book changed history for many people,” said Patrick Ames, CEO and Publisher of Octavo Corporation.
The company is looking to attract people of the Latter-day Saint audience as well as people with an interest in books and the power that books have, Ames said.
“This is our first religious title,” said E.M. Ginger, Executive Editor of Octavo. “We are assuming that it will interest the Mormon community.”
Kent Jackson, Professor of Ancient Scripture said, he found the digital facsimile of the Book of Mormon to be very interesting.
“There is no question about the fact that they have a first edition copy of the (Book of Mormon),” Jackson said.
However, Jackson said anyone can purchase a facsimile of the first edition copy of the Book of Mormon.
“I think that (the digital facsimile) is a helpful thing, but anybody can purchase a photographic reprint of the first edition of the Book of Mormon in the BYU Bookstore,” Jackson said.
The edition of the Book of Mormon digitized by Octavo contains a rare four-page index tipped into the back binding, Ginger said.
This rare index is usually found taped or glued into the 1830 copies of the Book of Mormon, said Peter Crawley in his book “A Descriptive Bibliography of the Mormon Church, Volume One 1830-1847.”
“A book with that index is much more scarce,” said Joan Nay, Used Book Manager of Sam Weller Books in Salt Lake.
Royal Skousen, Professor of English and Editor of the Book of Mormon Critical Text Project, said the copy of the 1830 first edition of the Book of Mormon used by Octavo in their digital facsimile is in extremely good condition.
“What’s nice about this is you can get a much better idea of what a first edition (copy of the Book of Mormon) looks like,” Skousen said. “You can almost feel the paper. They have done a really nice job.”
The digital facsimile will interest the general reader, students and clergy, Ames said.
Roseline Dipty, a sophomore from Hawthorne, Nev., with an undeclared major, said the digital facsimile of the Book of Mormon is like a museum on computer and puts it in a way that more people can see it.
How do rare book sellers think that a digital facsimile of first edition copy of the Book of Mormon will effect the sale of the actual rare book itself?
Tony Weller, Book Seller at Sam Weller’s Books, said the release of this digital facsimile will not effect the rare book collectable market.
“These people aren’t collecting words on pages,” Weller said. “They are collecting the object.”
Ames said their recently released facsimile of the 1830 Book of Mormon will get more people interested in collecting rare books.
Steve Booras, Technical Operations Manager of the Center for the Preservation of Ancient Religious Texts at the Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies, said the digital facsimile has both advantages and disadvantages. “The images are very good,” Booras said. “They are very well presented. (Yet) it is very limited with only a single work. The program is not very user friendly. It’s not readably apparent to the new user how to use it.”