Booklicious: Birth of a Book: How a Hardcover Comes to Life

March 26, 2012


I know I'm supposed to be all, "Yay, the future—digital books! Lighter, more compact, capable of projecting smugness without my moving a muscle!" But I'm not yet fully seated, strapped in, and ready to rock my Kindle, replicator, and hoverboard on that bandwagon. Books engage nearly all my senses, and if I lost the touch of paper on my skin, the smell of aged pages or new ink, the vibrant visual of a stunning binding—well, I don't think I'd love books half as much. Fortunately for me, some bookbinders out there, such as Smith Settle, still cling to the craft and continue to produce lovely books that will be appreciated for a long time. Journalist and filmmaker Glen Milner visited Smith Settle and shot the above video, which demonstrates how one of the company's popular editions is brought to life.

From the Telegraph:

For this mesmerising exclusive video, Glen Milner visited Smith Settle bookbinders near Leeds, where the owners, Don Walters and Tracey Thorne, allowed him to film the making of the 17th Slightly Foxed book, Suzanne St Albans’s memoir Mango and Mimosa, from start to finish. ... Slightly Foxed is paradoxically innovative and old-school. While most books are now printed and bound overseas, their choice to collaborate with Smith Settle, traditional British binders who have made elaborate editions for the Folio Society among others, has meant that instead of struggling to keep up with the digital revolution, this small press is making a profit. 

It's work like this that thrills my pro-print heart. Sure, there's a place for digital editions, but e-books are simply no match for the love and craftsmanship that go into delicate, gorgeous, deliciously dog-ear-unresistant paper copies. You will never pry them from my fingers, even if cold and dead my hands be.   


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