Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Biblioasis Hand-bound

When I first started Biblioasis six years, four months and five days ago (yes: at this point and time I am aware of the passing of every bloody second) I started it with the idea of it being a boutique-style press. The idea to start publishing actually came, at least in part, because I had taken a few bookbinding courses and was tired of making blank notebooks. When I started out, I intended that every trade book and every chapbook would have a hand-bound component. And, for a while, at least, I kept it up. Our first four trade books and nine chapbooks had hand-bound editions. And I have text blocks ready for binding for quite a few of the next dozen or so titles that followed. I even have a small binding room built in the garage, which proves that as little as three years ago I thought there was a chance I'd catch up. But I never did. Something I've become used to, as a publisher: my ambition being beat down by the tripartite realities of (1) not enough hours in a day; (2) not enough gas in the tank; and (3) not enough cash in the till. I was a Fool (Destined to be the working title of a future autobiography.) to believe it would be otherwise.

But I've always regretted abandoning this part of our publishing program, and I've always intended to get back to it. As a bookseller, book collector, bibliophile (or, when manic, mane), luddite, it's important to me. And in a digital age, when the twitter-verse is alive with chatter (ceaseless, ceaseless chatter) about the end of the physical book, perhaps it's even more important to get back to it. So, in fact, I have.

I'd hoped to have these ready well before the new year, to take advantage of the Christmas conasumerist frenzy, but it wasn't to be. We've produced two hand-bound editions of Fall 10 titles, a run of 50 copies of the first printing of Alexander MacLeod's Light Lifting, numbered and bound into hand-marbled papers; and a further run of 30 copies of A.J. Somerset's excellent Combat Camera. Both produced for the press by the wonderful Kate Murdoch (I seem to have even less hours in a day, and far less gas in the tank; but thanks to a better than average Fall 11, a few more dollars in the till.) Priced at 60.00 each, they can be purchased through the website -- just click on the hand-bound/hardcover link on the right side of the given book's page (For MacLeod, here; here for Somerset) -- or email me direct. If I can blow off the dust and put on my bookseller hat for a second, these are cheap at the price, and won't (or at least shouldn't) last long. Both will go for far more in as little as a few year's time. Especially if the Twitterverse is indeed correct, and the physical book is dead.

We'll be producing one or two such limited hand-bounds a season going forward, for as long as we can afford to do so. Clark Blaise's The Meagre Tarmac will follow this Spring. If any out there are interested in placing a standing order for these titles, let me know and we will get you off all new hand-bound titles as soon they are ready.

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