At first glance, the 21,450-page One Piece collection, which compiles the wildly popular manga by Eiichiro Oda, is a publishing marvel. Depending on how you calculate such things, it might be the world’s largest book. But it’s not approved by Oda, and it’s not intended to be read at all. So what is it?
According to The Guardian, the volume, which is titled ONEPIECE, is an art installation. It was made by artist Ilan Manouach, who printed out digital pages from the manga and put them into a single, impractical volume to illustrate the breadth of content available to readers and their monetary worth that sometimes supplants their value as art.
While this would seem like a possible case of copyright infringement, a spokesperson for publisher JBE Books said that because the book is not actually meant to be read—attempting to do so will crack the spine—there’s no concern over a dispute. The limited run of 50 copies priced at roughly $1800 each has already sold out.
Whether ONEPIECE is the biggest book ever published is a matter of semantics. Marcel Proust’s In Search of Lost Time totals over 3000 pages, but was split across 13 volumes.
Debuting in 1997, One Piece has become one of the most enduring manga works of all time. The tale of a pirate named Monkey D. Luffy and his search for treasure has been adapted into an animated show with over 1000 episodes; plans for a live-action Netflix project are underway.
[h/t The Guardian]