“The book is also a horrible warning to all librarians of the perils of disposal. In 1664 the library got the much smarter Third Folio, and a few years later sold off the First as a duplicate. It would pass through many hands until one day in 1905 a man walked in with the book in a bag, and asked what they thought of it.
A brilliant young librarian recognised the Bodleian library binding and the scars of the chains: it cost them £3,000, also raised by a public appeal, to get the book back. Since then it has scarcely been opened, and has spent almost all its time locked in a strong room.
… Every page has to be photographed in the highest possible resolution, and the challenge for the conservators is to stabilise the book so that it does not disintegrate in the process - but without destroying any of the historically fascinating damage, or the heroic efforts of one 18th century owner to carry out homemade repairs.”