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In a nutshell, there are some very nicely printed  and visually interesting
books out there. In some cases it may be a small volume with a simple paper
wrapper, but the subject matter lends itself well to a fine binding. In
other cases it may be a case of a nice edition in a functional, but
uninteresting binding (or in some cases poor binding).  Some trade books
are even worth rebinding in fancy bindings. Lets face it, there are many
wonderfully printed/illustrated books out there in horribly disfunctional
bindings as well as the opposite of terrific bindings with horrible
insides. Being "critical" of what we see and nailing down the "why" is an
important part of shaping our awareness as practitioners of a craft /
artists / consumers.

Historically books were printed and issued in various states. These could
range from installments in a paper wrapper to complete texts provisionally
bound in paper wrappers or with crude boards. The French were especially
well known for this. One would then take these installments or provisional
bindings to ones favorite binders.

In terms of buying an then rebinding an artists book, that's an interesting
question, and not really what I had interpreted the earlier message as
referring to, especially as it was in the context of an edition. I would
have qualms about rebinding an unique work, especially if I had bought it
for that uniqueness (or other qualities).  Then the question becomes, what
is an artist's book. We've been around this
Loooooooonnnnnnnnnnnnnnnngggggggggggggggggg block many times, always
interesting, but nothing that can be resolved. I would not put an editioned
book in the same category as unique book work as a matter of course.

I've bough numerous books in sheets from fine presses - Chelonidae Press,
Rarach Press, Press  Intermezzo
<http://web.wt.net/~rbertin/pressintermezzo/>, Warwick Press, Peter and
Donna Thomas, Sea  Pen Press and Papermill, and Bird Press to name a few.
Most of these are fine press (letterpress) shops specializing in finely
printed editions. All have welcomed inquiries for books in sheets, some
have offered them up for themed binding exhibitions, and some have been
collaborations, most notably with Bird Press for which I have bound most of
the editions, as well as completing unique bindings.

What goes through my head when I work on a design for a binding? Does the
subject matter appeal to me? Typographic layout? Illustrations? As I read
the book it leaves it own imprint on my mind. and I then begin to interpret
some aspect of the text/illustration in a way that appeals to me. Sometimes
that design takes its form from some concrete representation in the text or
an illustration. Sometimes it's the mood that the work conveys. With
others, its a chance to play with form and color. Many reasons.

Hope this helps. This discussion is getting really interesting and I
welcome others to contribute their ideas.


>Why would someone buy an artist book and then discard the original binding?
>Why is that a common practice?
>Good text-lousy binding?
>Good printing-ugly cover?
>So much to learn and so little time,

Philobiblon: Book Arts, Different By Design
Hand Binding, Conservation, and Project Websites
Peter D. Verheyen

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