- Associated Press - Friday, June 10, 2016

SOMERSET WEST, South Africa (AP) - Heavy reader? Maybe this South African rugby book weighing 35 kilograms (77 pounds) and measuring half a meter by half a meter is for you. Got a spare $13,500, though?

There are just 100 leather-bound Captains’ Editions of the recently released “Springbok Opus,” which tells the complete story of South Africa and its national sport dating to the 1860s, said Craig Mark, the sales and marketing director for the book.

Its 630 pages and more than 150,000 words long, took four years to put together, and the books are autographed by 45 current and former star players.

The Springbok Opus is the latest in a line of collectable sports books aimed at the really, really dedicated fan. This one’s the first in rugby, and there have been others on the Super Bowl, Formula One, Ferrari, and Manchester United.

The South African rugby book may turn out to be a bargain. Versions of the Ferrari F1 team opus, with covers encrusted with diamonds, went on sale at $275,000. A special edition of the Manchester United Opus sold at an auction in Dubai in 2007 for $1.6 million, a record for a sports book.

Many of those 100 giant Springbok Opus’ have already sold, Mark said, although he wasn’t going to name any buyers. So if you can afford them, what do you do with these prized publications?

Most collectors put them in sealed display cases, although they could be coffee table books if you have “a very strong coffee table,” Mark said.

“It’s a legacy. It’s not something you’re going to lend to a friend and lose,” he said. “It’s something you’re going to hand down to your kids.”

And if, like most of us, those prices are a little out of your league, there are other options that are a little easier to handle: There’s a Classic Edition available for $2,700, and a Midi Edition - at a more reasonable 11 kilograms - for $380.

If you just want a big read, you can buy the eBook online for $5. That’ll also save you the effort of lugging it home.

Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC.

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