Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Anachronistically Bookish

I am bookish in some less common ways. As some you know I have a graduate degree in Book Arts. That translates into: I know a bit about the history of the book as a cultural object, the history of printing, and traditional book making crafts like hand papermaking, hand bookbinding and letter press printing. I have also used a Vandercook press, an A.B. Dick, a Multilith 1250, and had the chance to run a large Heidelberg offset press once. It looked a little like this one. 

All that is to say, when I pick-up a book I am really attracted to good design and craft, as well as writing/narrative content.
Knowing these things about me, someone recently asked, "Does it break your heart the way the publishing industry is going?"
To which I replied, "No. It is not breaking my heart, but I understand why you would have that impression. Creatively speaking, the e-book has a lot of potential for a more democratic and more interactive book experience. I think the trend is to either more lushly produced, more haptic handmade books and also to more digital downloads. The cheap paper back segment of the publishing industry is where the most damage is likely to occur. (I think). The anxiety for me is the shifting shape of the business end of publishing model. Though I have heard it has been common sport for decades among NY lit agents to pronounce the end of book publishing as we know it, on a weekly basis."
You might like to see the this video of someone unwrapping Cory Docterow's hand bound edition of his novel With A Little Help.  He uses an indie press in Clarkenwell, London to produce some fantastic unique hardbounds. 


  1. Take a look at 'Art of McSweeney's' if you haven't already. It is all about the art production of their quarterly and books. Pretty sweet indication that making books is not dying. BTW- is this blog bg photo your library or a stock image?

  2. Seawolf- Good call on the McSweeney's, they are a book design beacon in the dark wasteland of publishing. The wall paper is a a stock image that was provided by Blogspot. However, the flash page of my never-been-updated website is a photo of one of my bookshelves.


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