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Letterpress or DTP software?



Hello again,

As a newcomer to the area of book arts, I have another question for more
experienced list members regarding letterpress vs. desktop publishing
software.

I recently completed an introductory class in non-adhesive book binding and
have been inspired to continue creating books on my own. I'll probably be
making mostly blank books but would also like to be able to add text to them
at some point. I've been a rubber stamper for a few years and have collected
several alphabets, as well as having had some quotes and poems made as custom
stamps, and I've dabbled a bit in calligraphy. As a former newspaper copy
editor, I have experience in word processing, mainly MS Word. To be able to
do a variety of book page layouts, I've been told that a desktop publishing
program such as Adobe PageMaker would be required -- at a cost of about $500.

On a visit to my bookbinding instructor's studio, I was able to see several
kinds of old presses for handset metal type (although not in operation during
the visit), and he mentioned that I'd probably be able to obtain a small
tabletop letterpress for about $150. Since another visit won't be possible
for a while, I'd like to be able to learn more about letterpress operation in
the meantime. This list has directed me to various helpful websites,
including one that describes basic tools and equipment necessary for
letterpress printing, but I'd also like to be able to find some resources
that show step-by-step how the whole process works.

My questions are these:

1. What comments, pro and con, would users of letterpresses have as opposed
to desktop publishing? What would you recommend for someone starting out?

2. Could you give an estimate of the "bare minimums" required in cost,
equipment, space available, etc., to set up a small letterpress operation?

3. Do you know of any videos available that would show letterpresses in
operation?

4. What, if any, other advice would you offer?

Thanks for any insights and/or suggestions,
Suzanne

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