The University of Iowa

The Atlantic: Revealing a book the size of a ladybug

The University of Iowa Libraries used a new microscope to read the smallest book in its miniature book collection for the first time, a volume measuring only .138 inches square and .04 inches thick.

"[Colleen] Theisen, with the help of Candida Pagan, a student in the university's Center for the Book, carefully cracked open the pages and put it under the microscope. Sure enough, there was the publisher's imprint: Toppan Printing Co., LTD. (The page was, Theisen writes in a post about the discovery, a bit damaged from earlier attempts to read it.)"

"People have loved miniature books for a long, long time," Theisen told me. In fact, the library recently acquired one from the 15th century -- the earliest days of European printing. And what's not to love? "They're cute; they're adorable; there's just something enchanting about something so small."

Read more about the discovery: Revealed: A Book the Size of a Ladybug