Making a Book by Hand is Not a Completely Lost Art (video)

book printing sow spineBook printing in the 21st century is so completely automated that the equipment can fit into a drug store or public library. But in spite of all the many advances and technical shortcuts, some printers still make books the old-fashioned way: by hand.

In the video below, Anthony Bourdain’s Raw Craft takes us beyond the show floor at Arion Press in San Francisco and shows us how this tiny printing shop keeps the legacy of printers of the past alive in the digital era:

One of the last of its kind, Arion Press has only a handful of members on its staff, all fellow craftsmen dedicated to this age old process. Each works meticulously to create the books in multiple parts, from the typecasters, to the proofreaders, to the printers and the bookbinders. All of these hands build a work of art through a process that must be seen to be believed, and can only, truly, be described as magic.

It's surprising just how much work can go into a single book when using antique methods, but the result can be worth it. The resulting book can be a work of art.

I recommend watching the entire video, just to see how much care and respect these guys put into their work. While you're at it, you might want to see if you recognize any tech that the NYTimes used to use to print daily newspapers (hot metal typography, for example).

Sploid

About Nate Hoffelder (11579 Articles)
Nate Hoffelder is the founder and editor of The Digital Reader:"I've been into reading ebooks since forever, but I only got my first ereader in July 2007. Everything quickly spiraled out of control from there. Before I started this blog in January 2010 I covered ebooks, ebook readers, and digital publishing for about 2 years as a part of MobileRead Forums. It's a great community, and being a member is a joy. But I thought I could make something out of how I covered the news for MobileRead, so I started this blog."

1 Comment on Making a Book by Hand is Not a Completely Lost Art (video)

  1. There’s a deep, elemental satisfaction in crafts like this and I predict that craft printing will continue, on a small scale.

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