It’s the Holidays — Support the Fine Press Eco-System!
As the holiday’s quickly approach, it is time to remind all Books and Vines readers about the importance of doing all we can to support those who create and sell the finely done private press books we all admire. In a world awash in digital books and mindless, one size fits all (fonts, designs), throw away, mass produced plunk….what better, thoughtful, unique and meaningful gift is there than hand-made, uniquely designed, carefully crafted books or broadsides from today’s fine private presses? Those receiving such a gift will cherish the tactile sensation of deeply embedded and consciously chosen letterpress type on mould-made or hand-made paper, not to mention the exquisite quality of the wood-engravings, lithographs, silkscreens, etchings or photogravures and the hand-done binding design, well thought out and using only the finest of materials. How could they not treasure the thoughtfulness of the giver?!!! Of course, you yourself deserve such a gift, even if it should come from yourself!
In all seriousness, we all know the economy has been brutal for years now. Private press books are not always inexpensive, and can sometimes be hard to justify when one is working around the clock just to put food on the table and keep shelter over the head of their family. Having said that, if you are planning on spending some money on holiday gifts, why not buck the trend of spending money on quickly outdated electronics from multi-billion dollar corporations and instead spend the money on finely done, never outdated, hand-made work from today’s private press printers? I assure you, today’s private presses are not run by billionaires doing this to further line their pockets…no, they are run by men and women who live and breathe type, ink and paper, with remuneration for their efforts barely enough to cover the cost of the beautiful works you get in return.
The economy has not only negatively impacted us consumers, but has also made it extremely difficult for private press publishers and fine book resellers. These people are standing athwart the mindless electronic tide, saving and carrying forward this important cultural skill for future generations while providing the books arts with lasting contributions from this generation to posterity. Those of us who appreciate and embrace this craft and art must take responsibility to do all we can to support this private press ecosystem; we have a critical role in ensuring its future. This holiday season, if at all financially feasible, please consider purchases that will help this ecosystem survive through these tough times.
Books and Vines has a number of links to private presses from which you can find a wide range of private press editions to fit all tastes and budgets. From stunning livres d’artiste books running thousands of dollars, to beautiful smaller works of short stories, poems or broadsides for often well under $100, there is something for everyone. Keep in mind that many private press publishers offer significant discounts of 20-30% for subscribing to their press. Doing so often pays for itself within 3-4 books (a win for you) while providing the publishers with a more certain revenue stream (win for them). Whether you subscribe or not, here is just a small sample of many works to choose from this holiday season:
Many of you have fine books to give away. Please consider donations to schools or libraries that can take care of these fine works, while exposing many more people to the beauty and importance of fine press works. Those with time, consider doing presentations at a local university, school or club, where again the opportunity presents itself to expose many more people to the beauty and importance of fine press works. It is by exposing more and more people to this beauty, and helping them to understand why this craft, and the output from it, is important as a cultural link from previous to future generations, that will allow the private press eco-system to thrive. Happy Holidays and order away!!!