What you see here is the UK version of one of the most gorgeous books I have ever seen. The US version cover is not nearly as attractive or as truly representative of the quality of the contents so hunt around for the import. It does not come inexpensively but as you tour through page after page of textless, nearly people-less bibliophilic bliss, you can almost smell the paper, the ink, the book glue....ooooh, lost myself for a minute. 137 full page color plates from the talented eye of Candida Hofer of what the publisher describes as the world's "cathedrals of knowledge" invite armchair travel into the Escorial in Spain, the Whitney Museum in New York, Villa Medici in Rome, the Hamburg University library, the Bibliotheque Nationale de France in Paris, the Museo Archeologico in Madrid, and Pierpont Morgan Library in New York, to name just a few. Umberto Eco's erudite introduction which would typically be a draw all by itself is almost lost here. Who has time to read with such visual stimulation just a few pages away? A now retired site I particularly like, The Nonist, describes this volume as "porn for book nerds." So true. Click on that site's link to see even photographs from the book.