This is what you will get for your money, starting from the outside and working in: • This single volume comes very well packed in a box containing another box with a magnifying glass and an 80 page User's Guide; • The dictionary has a nice, sturdy, black slipcase with gold lettering; • The book itself is bound in strong, slate blue/grey board and fabric covers with gold lettering on the spine and embossed front cover; • There are about eight pages of titles, contents and so on in normal sized print; • The next eight pages have introductory information, general explanations, keys to pronunciation, abbreviations and so forth, micrographically reproduced but still readable with the naked eye (my eye managed it naked at least); • There are 2,371 pages of actual dictionary, ie 500,000 definitions, 137,000 pronunciations, 249,000 etymologies and 2.4 million illustrative quotations; • Finally, there are 16 pages of bibliography. I'm delighted with this dictionary to the point of enthusiastic ranting. I was worried about the possibility of not being able to read the text with the magnifying glass provided. I think the Oxford University Press may have changed the glass recently, as I've seen illustrations with a rectangular magnifier. My copy came with a lovely hemispheric chunk of smooth glass in a black holding frame (not to hold it over the book but to keep smudgy finger marks off it). It works incredibly well. I just sit it on the bit I want to read and the text is as clear and crisp as I could wish. I was prepared to buy another magnifier if necessary, as a previous reviewer suggested, but there's no need. The text is, indeed, very minute. There are nine micrographically reproduced pages from the 20 volume edition, per page of the compact edition: three across and three down. But the quality of the paper and printing are such that each character is well defined when viewed through the magnifying glass. I have to confess that my eye-sight is far from perfect so it's a great relief to find that this wonderful dictionary is so easy to read. In common with many other people who will buy this treasure, I could not have afforded the full, 20 volume OED and nor could I have accommodated it on my book shelves, so this single volume is perfection as far as I'm concerned. Very highly recommended!
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