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Re: Letterpress or DTP software?

It is interesting to me how the proliferation of 'desktop publishing' has
prompted us to regard typesetting - as if we could casually just learn a
trade almost as easily as purchasing a software product. (This isn't a flame
directed at the original poster, just a pet peeve in general...)

If you are truly interested in becoming a printer, the press is the only the
first piece of equipment you need. A host of other equipment and supplies is

If you can't invest the money and/or time in becoming a printer, studying
the history of type, basics of good equipment, layout and press work etc.
(which, believe me, the more you learn, the more you find out how much you
didn't know...), I would recommend working with a printer who will either
collaborate with you on a project by project basis or simply do the
letterpress work for you for a fee.

If you are into it for a long term commitment, as you have already
experienced there are wonderful on-line resources available and many of the
experienced typesetters on the letpress listserv are more than happy to help
you out along the way.

The upside of investing time in learning good typesetting even if you never
set up your own press is that it will vastly improve your computer generated

Best wishes,

Pendleton, OR

-----Original Message-----
From: Suzanne McCarthy <TCnative@AOL.COM>
Date: Sunday, July 02, 2000 8:33 AM
Subject: 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
>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
>at some point. I've been a rubber stamper for a few years and have collecte
>several alphabets, as well as having had some quotes and poems made as
>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
>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
>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
>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
>4. What, if any, other advice would you offer?
>Thanks for any insights and/or suggestions,
>             ***********************************************
>            BOOK_ARTS-L: The listserv for all the book arts.
>      For subscription information, the Archive, and other related
>            resources and links go to the Book_Arts-L FAQ at:
>                      <http://www.philobiblon.com>
>             ***********************************************

            BOOK_ARTS-L: The listserv for all the book arts.
      For subscription information, the Archive, and other related
            resources and links go to the Book_Arts-L FAQ at:

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