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Re: [BKARTS] Reflections on bookart and commerce

This discussion is germane to me, in a sort of a way.  I have been making
hand made trade paper books for a while, in a style similar to quality
trade paper bound books.  They are Singer sewn in signatures of 16pp,
adhesive bound together with folded end papers, in a laminated, paper
cover.  I use this binding to produce small editions of poetry, mostly by
my wife, Penn Kemp, but also by other poets we have come into contact with.

What I have noticed about the buying habits of the public is that the idea
of hand made cuts almost no ice at all.  They are willing to pay a small
premium, but not for the binding: for the poetry.  Very little of this
stuff sells in bookstores, so the term trade book is a bit of a misnomer.

There is a completely different market, which is the collectors.  These are
further subdivided by category, such as the artist's book, fine bindings on
classics, binder's books, etc.  Depending on the category of buyer, the
nature of the binding or contents may matter a lot, or not at all.  What
almost always matters is the edition specification and the
binder/author/artist.  I think I am making this sound much more systematic
than it is.

So, it seems to me that your discussion is really about which market is
being targeted.  The bookseller has a particular clientele, and he knows
what they will buy.  The artist has another idea, not quite
congruent.  Either the artist will preserve his concept and forgo the
market, or he will adapt his concept to suit the market.

Given the specifics of the idea, I would suggest that the original book be
preserved as originally conceived, but that it be presented as the valuable
artifact that it purports to be, by means of a suitable box or cover.  The
treatment of a box can be ironic and consistent with the book design, and
yet convey both points because of the incongruity of the means.  A somewhat
subtle way of making a large neon sign saying "expensive irony here!"


At 07:27 AM 04/07/2003 -0500, you wrote:
on 7/4/03 7:00 AM, Kevin Driedger at ksdriedger@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx wrote:

> To the outside buyer, the difference between your book and a trade
> is that you intended your book to look that way.

The difference is that I made it on my kitchen table

Gavin Stairs Gavin Stairs Fine Editions 525 Canterbury Road London, Ontario Canada N6G 2N5

telephone: (519) 434-8555.
email: stairs@xxxxxxxxxxxx

Gavin Stairs Fine Editions is a small, computer press specializing in book
design and fine, hand-made books.

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