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4061Re: Binding, Boxing &c. (Was "Packaging" the product)

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  • Gerald Lange
    Apr 4 9:56 PM

      Yes, as you, I would like to hear more from fine press printer-publishers as well on this topic. But as we both well know, they don't participate. Which just drives us all back further and further.

      Re: Moxon. Well, unfortunately "they" were wrapped in something, so... I guess I need to print a wrapper of sorts and a nice label. But I've
      never had a customer complain about any particular binding even though
      I have issued books that quite needed better preservation support. The
      early printer-publishers kind of left that to the buyer. Doesn't sit well today so much but it's not exactly like a collector is going to pay any additional for the effort. Lucky enough if they buy the book.

      But, one of the very irritating things about what the fine press has
      been driven too is the marketing. And it verges on desperation. I don't in anyway discount that this has always been the case ever
      since Wm Morris sort of invented the concept. I note that early
      twentieth century fine presses regularly "over-subscribed" their
      publications. How did that exactly work?

      There is a point where a book does not warrant the binding it is given, especially if the binding is more designed as a marketing tool
      rather than to enhance the book concept. Which seems to more and more
      the example.

      On the other hand, there just aren't as many fine press book
      printer-puiblishers around anymore, and whatever is coming out, hey,
      give em grace for the effort. That, or we will all be driven to
      printing wedding invites, pounded hard (like "real" letterpress), until that fad goes away.


      > John: I've purposely wanted to avoid bringing up the question with
      > binding discussion groups, where this topic (and similar ones) has
      > been discussed on many occasions. Most fine press printers will do
      > some of their own "finishing" (which may include aspects of binding,
      > such as pamphlet binding, but may include other activities). However,
      > most printers need an outside person or firm to do edition binding and
      > boxes, thus cost (as Gerald points out) becomes a practical issue in
      > presentation. I raise the question on a listserv dedicated to people
      > producing the innards of books and pamphlets because I'm less
      > interested in the engineering marvels that one might find from
      > binders. (I don't mean to disparage their work!)
      > Gerald: historical verisimilitude of presentation has much to
      > recommend it, and while Moxon would not have made a box or portfolio,
      > printers sometimes have to make compromises to later taste or
      > expectations or tradition. You could just charge extra for anyone
      > unwilling to be historically accurate. :-)
      > >Folks who produce books out of passion should probably not be taken
      > to task for their efforts. Fragile, sturdy, simple, complicated.
      > Hopefully appropriate.<
      > I hope that the thoughtful collector (whether institutional or not)
      > will look beyond the "packaging" when buying. But practical issues of
      > things like shelving (so the book can be found) or fragility (adding
      > to the cost of ownership) are also important. Unfortunately these
      > sorts of issues sometimes "wag the dog" when it comes to collecting
      > and buying.
      > Jessica privately wrote me "There's a tricky line out there between
      > gimmicks (pop-ups, wacky bindings, etc.) and structures that work well
      > with content." I think here again, that word "appropriate" seems quite
      > important. The best designs reinforce the text and its underlying
      > meaning, but since you're not a gentleman of leisure running a
      > hobbyist press, you need to take into consideration "market" issues.
      > The best choices have good reasons, such as Trissel's decision to
      > issue his book in unbound sections, printed single-sided (but I still
      > wonder about the acrylic chemise--which, since I remember it, IS an
      > interesting marketing device ;-) )....
      > Paul
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