On the 23rd of April, 2002, in a historical part of the capital of Azerbaijan, Baku, at the territory of State Historical-Architectural Preserve “Icherishehernext to a monument of the XIV century architecture, the Palace of Shirvanshahs, there took place the opening of the first and so far the only private Museum of miniature books in the world.
Why exactly on this spot and on this day? Because the national leader, Heydar Aliyev, personally had instructed the city mayor's office to allot this place to us and the muse- um was constructed there.
On April 23, 1616, at one day the world literature's luminaries such as William Shakespeare and Miguel de Cervantes passed away. In accordance with decision of UNESCO, this day is marked around the world annually as the Day of International Books and Copyrights, thus, to immortalize their names.
People often ask me: how did the idea of collecting miniature books evolve? It was by pure accident: in November
1982, in Moscow, at the All-Union Voluntary Society of Book- Lovers, I was offered to buy, for 23 rubles, a facsimile-type small- formatted edition of a complete collection of I. Krylov's fables published in 1835. In those days, it was an expensive pleasure, but, nevertheless, I had decided to buy the book. Having paid the money to the cash-desk, I went to the storage-room and there, for the first time, I saw mini-books. The formation of my collection has started since that day. For the past almost 32 years I have collected more than 7,500 miniature books. As per Soviet standards, a format of 100x100 mm was considered as a mini- book, whereas under European standards, it was 58x76 mm.
Today, in the museum, on a floor area of 145 m2, in 37 glass-cases (against the 25, exhibited on the opening day), there are exhibited 5,800 miniature books published in 71 countries worldwide. Four microbooks printed by Tokyo-based Toppan publishing house are considered the most rare in the exhibition. One of them a format 0.75x0.75 mm, and three 2х2 mm.