A tiny universe

Miniature books in Scotland

Scottish publishers have made a unique contribution to the world of small books. On display were some of the little marvels they produced. Ran from 18 September to 17 November 2013.


The National Library of Scotland owns one of the world's great collections of miniature books.

Our autumn 'treasures' display featured a choice selection of these micro-volumes, focusing on the output of two Scottish miniature book publishers:


Collection highlights on display

Miniature 'Old King Cole' with 'smallest printed book' certificate
The smallest
book in NLS


One of David Bryce's
tiny Bibles.

A miniature Qur'an

Among the items on show from our collection of over 100 miniature books were:

  • The two smallest books in NLS collections, one of them a copy of 'Old King Cole' measuring less than 1mm tall
  • A selection of tiny Bibles from David Bryce including his 18mm tall New Testament
  • A miniature Qur'an published by David Bryce around 1900
  • Two unique copies of the Bhagavad-Gita from David Bryce's personal collection
  • A miniature dictionary — the 'New pocket-dictionary of the English and German languages' — accompanied by an ornamental silver locket with an inset magnifying glass
  • A 20 volume set of William Shakespeare's works housed in a tiny wooden replica of Shakespeare's desk which is modelled on the original in a Stratford museum. The desk is made of oak taken out of Holy Trinity Church, Stratford, where Shakespeare was baptised and buried
  • The first book of the new millennium — a miniature edition of the New Testament which was officially released at midnight on 31 December 1999
  • A copy of the 'Ten Commandments' measuring only 13mm tall
  • A tiny pamphlet by the Gleniffer Press only 3mm tall.

Read more about miniature books in NLS collections.




The treasures display in our George IV Bridge Building is a small sample of the millions of items in our collections. We change the display several times a year.

Past treasures displays



Treasures main page


Speak me