What Is the Longest Book in the World? | Smart News


ONE PIECE by Ilan Manouach
Courtesy of JBE Books

Artist Ilan Manouach has assembled 21,450 pages of the popular Japanese comic book One Piece into a sculpture that comments on the commercialization of comics. And in the process, he created what is believed to be the longest book of all time – so long, in fact, that it is physically impossible to read.

The concept art project called ONE PIECE, sold out within days of its launch earlier this month. Manouach, in collaboration with his Brussels-based non-profit Echo Chamber and French publisher JBE Books, provided 50 signed and numbered copies of the sculpture for $1,893 (€1,900) each. Each book weighed 37.5 pounds and had a 31.5 inch spine.

Manouach created the artwork to explore the “expanded digital production belt” for comics, which his website says have become high-value items for collectors and investors. That no one can read the book is the whole point: Manouach has evolved ONE PIECE “as a pure object of speculation”

“Comics are dual objects,” he writes. “They have a use value – for readers – and an exchange value for collectors. Although these two functions are not clearly separated, they sometimes run counter to each other.”


The book has a 31.5 inch spine.

Courtesy of JBE Books

As Isaiah Colbert writes for kotakuthe sculpture is “something to look at when thinking about manga supply and demand rates in online digital storefronts.”

Although the sculpture prominently features the words “by Ilan Manouach” on the front, writer-artist Eiichiro Oda is actually responsible for creating the series manga “One Piece,” which appeared in the Japanese magazine Shōnen jump every week since 1997.

The comic accompanies the protagonist Luffy D. Monkey on his adventures as the leader of a pirate group. By August, “One Piece” had published more than 500 million copies worldwide, breaking the Guinness World Record for “the world’s most published comic book series by a single author,” he reported hypebeastis Joyce Li. With an estimated net worth of around $200 million, Oda is the richest manga creator of all time. And his beloved seafaring saga seems to be drawing to a close: Oda says the series is in its final stages.


The project comments on the commercialization of comics.

Courtesy of JBE Books

Manouach apparently did not consult Oda or the manga’s editor about the project. Keita Murano, a spokesperson for Shueisha, the Japanese publisher of One Piece, narrates Guardian‘s David Barnett that the artwork is “unofficial”.

“We don’t give them permission,” he says.

An unnamed spokesman for JBE, the publisher of the artwork, said Guardian that the sculpture, being illegible, does not pose any copyright issues.

“This article is about Manouach’s work around comic book ecosystems, here as a sculptor using online distribution as source material and reading out-of-copyright content,” adds the spokesperson.

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