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World’s first book published as a Non-Fungible Token (NFT) available to borrow exclusively at the Edmonton Public Library

Former Edmonton author Todd Babiak auctions off new novel in digital fashion
Book front and back covers (1)
A world first, for Edmonton Public Library and author Todd Babiak. Photo submitted.

 

Todd Babiak’s The Daughters of Walsingham, the first book in the world to be auctioned off as an NFT (non-fungible token), can now be borrowed from the Edmonton Public Library, (EPL) thanks to local businessman Chris LaBossiere, who bought the book for two ether (about $8,000) and donated it.

EPL secured the only copy of The Daughters of Walsingham, purchased using digital currency and gifted to EPL for the public to access and read for free. The library will be offering exclusive access to The Daughters of Walsingham to EPL library cardholders. 

Babiak is the first author in the world to have sold a full novel as an NFT to just one buyer. EPL will also be the first library to lend an NFT item for free with a library card. 

“We are thrilled to be part of this extraordinary story,” said EPL's Tina Thomas. “To be on the edge of new technology that could change the way books are published and offered in the future is so exciting."

In its simplest form, an NFT is a record of who owns a piece of digital content. NFTs are fairly new and became more prominent in 2021. Todd Babiak is the only author to date to have put a single book copy up for sale as a true NFT. 

“Art is the perfect use-case for smart contracts. Instead of publishing The Daughters of Walsingham the traditional way, tokenizing a novel - like any artwork, or any contract - this allows me to have a direct connection with my reader," said Babiak.

Babiak has a growing interest in cryptocurrency and all things NFTs and blockchain. With this particular book, which he calls, “a shadow history, a metaverse, with its own fashion and history,” he decided to put it up for sale inside today’s new evolving metaverse. He then sat back and watched what would happen. 

“It is a simple, elegant and secure way to make a contract with anyone: just one book, one buyer, one close relationship with just one reader,” said Babiak. 

The Daughters of Walsingham is a story about a 14-year old girl, Gwendolyn Spire, living in Alaska, in one of the coldest towns in America in 1962. She is then summoned to Walsingham Academy, a secret place where girls have been trained in clandestine activities for generations. The world soon faces the Cuban Missile Crisis and Gwendolyn wins the right to do what spies do - save the world! 

Babiak wrote the book with his own daughters--a story unlike anything he’d written before. 

For EPL, the uniqueness of this book as an NFT allows exclusive access to its customers of a literary work of fiction that otherwise would have only been read by the single book buyer. At the same time, it gives the library community an opportunity to learn more about the growing world of NFTs.  

“It’s an incredible opportunity for us to be a library leader in embracing new technology that is changing the way readers access literary works of art,” said Thomas.  “We are diving into the new world of digital creation and sharing, and we look forward to continuing to experiment and learn along-side our customers.”

Over the next few months EPL will host learning opportunities about cryptocurrency, blockchain and NFTs through classes and events. For more information visit epl.ca/NFTBook