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Re: [BKARTS] Reflections on bookart and commerce

I have disovered why book munufacturing companies don't produce quality work.
They can't!

My wife owns a small publishing company "Gray Goose Books."  We were recently
asked if we could republish a set of 12 volumes that was originally bound in
1924. It is a history of their founder and his company. At that time there
were only 250 sets published. They were bound with vellum spines and paper on the

Today the family has over 3,000 members and the company has become
international. They want to produce 40 to 50 thousand sets of 12 volumes each. The
customer origianally wanted to make exact copies of the 1924 publication. This
proved to be impossible. First off. That much vellum is not available. All the
producers of vellum in the world would take 4 -5 months to produce. Even if we
waited that long. Any company large enough to produce that quantity of books
can't work with vellum. We then down-graded to starch-filled buckram with a
parchment paper title label on the spine. No one can hand apply lables to 480,000
books. We asked for gilt tops on the text block. Again none of the big outfits
can do it and the ones that can; the job is too big for them. This senario
played out for almost every aspect of the book. The big companies can't do it
because they lack know-how and the smaller one can't do it because it would take
them years to do it.

 At this point, our customer, who started out wanting a "Cadilac" job, is
wondering if it's worth bothering with.

One honest representitive of a large book manufacture said that, "In truth we
only produce glorified paperbacks. The same guts with a cheap hard cover."

That's the state of commercial bookbinding today.

Ed Stansell

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