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Re: [PPLetterpress] Re: Letterpress

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  • Graham and Kathy
    ... I think you ll find Artist s Books in that price range today, but for very small editions. Any regular letterpress, carefully and considerately printed,
    Message 1 of 51 , Feb 9, 2012
      On 9/2/12 07:17, "Gerald Lange" <Bieler@...> wrote:

      > Interesting. I have a copy of the bound British Printer from 1895 where the
      > editors were examining William Morris's pricing and expenses. They were quite
      > amazed when calculating his profit ratio. Theoretically, he charged one
      > month's salary of the average middle class income for his books. I suppose
      > that would be roughly $4,000 or something if judged by income today. The
      > average fine press Joe ain't quite hitting anywhere near that marker.
      > There: some fine press book information to provoke a discussion. Any bites? Am
      > I trying to prove a point?
      > Gerald
      > http://BielerPress.blogspot.com

      I think you'll find 'Artist's Books" in that price range today, but for very
      small editions. Any regular letterpress, carefully and considerately
      printed, books in there? I don't know, though I'd guess at that point the
      primary means of production is not an issue - you're selling art, and the
      artist, rather than a book.

      It ought to come down to how you price your books, which I guess is where
      you are heading with the Morris information. I've seen some things done in
      our times that I find reprehensible, such as prices increasing as the number
      of available copies goes down, but then I understand that there are
      customers who accept this sort of behaviour, accepting some sort of kudos
      for having spent the larger sum - if the economic down-turn does any good
      maybe it will be to change this attitude on behalf of buyers or sellers, but
      I doubt it. Morris was, I think, honest in his pricing - he wasn't dependent
      on book sales for his income and there is, to the best of my memory, no
      suggestion that Morris was mendacious or greedy - his workmen were well paid
      for what they did, better certainly that I am!

      I generally offer a small discount for folks who pay up-front, by which I
      mean before the book is made, but on economic grounds rather than the above
      notion, viz: you are giving me the money I need to keep out of the hands of
      the bankers, so I can pay the paper merchant and typesetter as soon as
      they've done their work, and in return my discount is more than you'll get
      as interest if you leave the money in your bank account. This will fall down
      if potential buyers don't have spare money in the bank, but I doubt if such
      folks are our customers anyway, generally anyway. And by the by - in the UK
      we sell our letterpress books mostly to private individuals, thus editions
      of a couple of hundred plus, and thus lower prices, while in the US it seems
      letterpress book production has developed into aiming at institutional
      sales, thus generally smaller editions and the higher prices that go with
      that, and this has fed into turning letterpress book production slipping
      into the rare market of 'artist's books'. Such anyway is my interpretation.

      For those of us who are the primary producers, I'd maintain that pricing
      ought to be based on the cost of the materials, overheads and labour, and
      leave the rarity-ramped pricing to the second-hand book dealers - fair
      enough, that's how they make their living. I make my living by commissioning
      text and illustration, knowing how to respond to that in designing a
      suitable book, then going ahead and doing it all, including the primary
      selling. It's all important and one part feeds into another - I'd rather
      not give one part precedence over another to the extent of being simply a
      book designer, or a book commissioner, or a letterpress printer, or a
      publisher. Though I'd sooner someone else did the schlepping round the
      customers, the present residual bookselling via shops/catalogues is good,
      and I'd not want to remove the pleasure in making a prospectus, giving a
      talk occasionally, maybe printing a small advertising poster or broadsheet
      once in a while. Book fair attendance can be a lot of fun too, though the
      overheads can get to be too much - I've had to give up on CODEX having
      figured out that it costs me about £2500 ($4000) as well as two weeks away
      from the printshop - I'd not expect to sell enough at my prices to cover
      that. Too much of that is geography and the hard luck of age, but the
      economics is real too.

      Mostly the Book Fairs are about the only chance I get to meet fellow-makers
      - though there's never enough time to talk much. Could a List/Yahoo/Facebook
      fill anything in? No, not really for me - a conversation is a face to face
      experience, not something carried out by typing. Shop visits would be
      better, and anyone's welcome - spare bed in the loft!

      Graham Moss
      Incline Press
      36 Bow Street
      Oldham OL1 1SJ England

    • Silber MaiKätzchen
      To tell the truth, I really enjoy the planning, prepress, and bindery of complex jobs more than the presswork. Right now I have a case bound, (Smythe Sewen,)
      Message 51 of 51 , Feb 12, 2012
        To tell the truth, I really enjoy the planning, prepress,
        and bindery of complex jobs more than the presswork.
        Right now I have a case bound, (Smythe Sewen,)
        project in house that includes eleven gatfold illustrations,
        one six pages long. After a lot of careful planning
        I am looking for fun on the folder.
        Dum loquimur, fugerit invida Aetas:
        Carpe diem!
        quam minimum credula postero!

        Odes Book I

        From: Austin Jones <austin@...>
        To: PPLetterpress@yahoogroups.com
        Sent: Sun, February 12, 2012 4:39:39 AM
        Subject: Re: [PPLetterpress] Re: Letterpress

        With regard to communities - Lets add a couple more distinctions. There are great technicians and there are great designers. I once had an art teacher who was a great technician on the litho stone. she could print from a stone with a technique like no other, but couldn't create a design if her life depended on it. I know others who can design some very interesting layouts, but their ability to execute left lots to be desired. I also know a printer who once told me he loved to get the first two or three prints off the press then it was all work and boring from that point on.
        So, it is all in the details. I recall from a workshop I attended several years ago on the jurying process. The issues raised were design, function, and execution. Every piece can be looked at with these elements in mind. How well is the piece designed; How well does it do its job; and how well was the design executed.
        While we may choose to see a work as a whole, I think it is more fair and complete to look at the various elements.  This way we are likely to see the work for its true value.
        Just one more thought on how we can choose to see a printed item.

        Austin Jones
        ----- Original Message -----
        Sent: Saturday, February 11, 2012 6:50 AM
        Subject: Re: [PPLetterpress] Re: Letterpress


        Aye, and there’s two communities, the makers and the buyers. To a large extent the makers can take care of themselves so far as process goes – that is if they have enough wit to find and open a few books, and maybe visit a few existing makers. It’s the buyers I think we need to be more concerned about, thus the value of the bibliophile clubs, the FPBA, the book Fairs, the newspaper/magazine/journal articles, and of course our own well printed ephemera. Personally I still think there would be a great value in forming, very specifically,  a society of letterpress book makers, whose members would be committed to making good publicity for the process, to explain it to potential new buyers, but I think I’m in a minority of one, at least as far as any response indicates. The FPBA has gone in a quite different direction, and as good as it is, it’s too inward looking for any growth in educated patrons of the book makers. So it’s head down and into the wind.

        Hey ho!

        Graham Moss
        Incline Press
        36 Bow Street
        Oldham OL1 1SJ  England



        I'd agree with this, isn't "push back against ignorance" what education is all about? or should be? This forum (and others like it) wouldn't exist if we all just quietly ignored the community.


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