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Re: [BKARTS] The Espress Book Machine

Peter Libaire wrote:

 but the book product itself - i'd take - and love to own - any number
 of hand made books from this list before showing any interst in the
 output of this machine.

This is where we differ. I'm interested in the image on the page and what it means and looks like. The way in which the book is assembled is less significant to me. It's like typography. In terms of reading, rather than decoration, the best typography is invisible. In a text-heavy illustrated book, the typography frames the illustration. I discuss some of the issues in "Digital Incunabula" <http://madlaughter.com/digital.htm>.

I admire hand-made books, and I have made a few of them myself <http://madlaughter.com/slides/slides/dreams_storm.html> and <http://madlaughter.com/ff/>, but ultimately I now aim at a book that is as close as possible a match to a commercially manufactured trade paperback or hardcover book. This is not a trivial task, especially when you are limited to the tools you can find in any stationery store and your workshop is a kitchen table. I produced an article on this for Bound & Lettered a while back -- "Tabletop Publishing How to Make Your Own Trade Paperback on Your Kitchen Table" <http://cafecancun.com/bookarts/desktopbooks.pdf>.

Many book artists seek to deconstruct the book as an object unto itself, rather than as a container for content accessible through reading (especially) and viewing. I am not going to argue against that, although I do find some of the results baffling, mainly because I am as much a writer and graphic designer as I am a book artist. Rather than attempting to break new ground, I glorify the mundane and humble ordinary trade book by bringing to its content and design the classical traditions that I learned in more than fifty years as an editor, typographer and publicist. Creating that kind of book is normally a ponderous corporate collaboration. Now I do it myself in my own home on my own equipment. Anyone who has been through the full process of publishing a commercial book will appreciate what that means in terms of artistic control and freedom.

Today is the 31st anniversary of my love affair with Anita Brown, who learned about me through my first published work of book art, Memoir, which a mutual friend, a Playboy photographer, let her read. After overcoming some obstacles (principally the friend, who wanted her for himself), we finally met while I was researching "Working the Street," a story on the San Francisco vice squad that was published by Playboy in 1978. Coincidentally, we were surrounded by the American Booksellers Convention. We have been together ever since. It is said that no girl was ever ruined by a book. I guess they did not know about Memoir.

JULES SIEGEL Apdo. 1764, 77501-Cancun, Q. Roo, Mexico

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