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The perfect gift: 5 coffee table books to cherish forever

Books Book printing


by Dimitri Van Gaever

Coffee table books used to be reserved for the bourgeoisie only. When the first coffee table books were published in the early 1900s, rich households would ‘casually’ let the expensive photo books linger in their sitting room to show off their wealth and good taste to anyone who dropped by. 

5 coffee table books to cherish forever

While still rather pricey today, coffee table books, in general, have become much more affordable to the masses. Which is just as well, considering the gorgeous and extensive offer offset lithography and high-quality digital color printing solutions like the Xeikon Book Production Suite bring on the market today.

Are you looking for the perfect gift? Or do you simply want to treat yourself to another lovely addition to your book collection? These five coffee table books are the cream of the crop!

1. The Walt Disney Film Archives. The Animated Movies 1921–1968


This breathtaking coffee table book published by Taschen celebrates one of the most creative minds of the 20th century. Around 1,500 photographs and, of course, illustrations alongside essays by eminent Disney experts trace Walt Disney’s journey from the silent film era and Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937) all the way to The Jungle Book (1967). Editor Daniel Kothenschulte also did a wonderful job curating numerous never-before published concept paintings and storyboards to reveal how Disney managed to enchant the world with the animation masterpieces we still cherish today. In short, this coffee table book is bound to set your inner child’s heart aflutter.

2. Audrey Hepburn Photographs 1953-1966 by Bob Willoughby


If someone were to say that it’s impossible not to love Audrey Hepburn, distinguished Hollywood photographer Bob Willoughby would be the first to agree. Willoughby’s portfolio includes famous snaps of Elizabeth Taylor, Marilyn Monroe, and Jane Fonda, among others, but when he met Audrey Hepburn at a shoot in 1953 when she was just a starlet, he fell in love with her dazzling smile and ethereal glow. As Hepburn’s star rose, Willoughby became a close friend and devoted himself to recording her career and private life in print.

3. Helmut Newton


More than just an excuse to keep some soft porn right where everyone can see it, this coffee table book is an excellent piece of spot-on photography. A revised edition of Helmut Newton's SUMO, the first copy of which sold for 317,000 euros, it was compiled by June Newton as a homage to her father. The coffee book features the late photographer’s most intriguing work, from fashion shoots to celebrity portraits and exquisite nudes.

4. The Family Album of Wild Africa by Laurent Baheux


Another black-and-white gem to love and ponder over. Instead of just taking pictures of animals, French photographer Laurent Baheux made portraits. The magnificent lighting and careful composition of each photograph highlight the wild animal’s vulnerability and reveals its raw spirit and vitality like only a true artist can.

5. Steve McCurry - The Iconic Photographs


The Iconic Photographs illustrates exactly why photographer Steve McCurry has been famous for decades now. The coffee table book curates McCurry’s best photographs and shows off his trademarks in all their glory: from his love for symmetry and the little moments that make life beautiful to the seas of color you wish you could swim in for hours.