This is a reply to Emma and her dissertation on miniature books... 1. I first
became aware of miniature books about 25 years ago when I visited a Doll
display at the N.Y. International Toy Show. It was the booth of Miriam Owen Irwin
one of the founders (at a later time) of the Miniature Book Society. We
swapped books and from time to time I would run across mention of Miniatures. I
think it was discussions with the Thomases that led me to consider publishing
2. My first miniature book was published in 1999.
3. We try to do all of the book-making chores: selection of project, design,
material selections, printing, illustrations and binding. Our editions are
rarely more than 50. We have both offset printing and letterpress capabilities
and several of our books have been printed on our Washington Handpress. We use
both handset type and the "newfangled" polymer letterpress plates.
4.The computer is extremely helpful as a tool in determining design,
typesizes, page layouts. To date, we've not made editions that "printed" the type with
toner...but that's our personal preference.
5. We've learned techniques that are helpful in working with small sheet
sizes. Editions tend to be smaller...our clients are generally collectors or
Libraries with special collections and specialized booksellers.
6. Only marginally...email is helpful in general communications.
7. Aye...there's the rub! Direct mail announcements to collectors. Listing in
the MBS Newsletter and the Microbibliophile...occasionally at a collector's
8. When we started publishing Miniatures we gave very little thought as to
how we would sell them: "Build beautiful books and collectors will seek us out."
We still give very little thought to selling. The pleasure, I believe, is in
the creative process: Being able to create an object that is a desirable bit
of art, beyond the message inside. We tend to regard our book-making less as
publishing and more as creating an object with intrinsic value.
9. (Personal observation.) Your focus on production techniques and technology
in the manufacture and production of miniature books will no doubt lead you
to some intriquing processes with the potential capabilities of creating more
of "the world's smallest book." Which has some interest. Perhaps you will also
want to note that there exists some who have determined that many of the older
techniques of printing, paper making and binding offer their own advantages.
We would very much be interested in receiving a copy of your completed
Shoestring Press, Phil & Anna