Center of the Book

I’ve wanted to write this post for a very long time, but kept forgetting about it or putting it off, thinking, when would I ever find time to actually do this?

Well, with the recent hoopla that Amazon and IPG’s inability to come to terms is creating (see this article), maybe this post is now due.

Many of us are writers because we love books. Not only do we enjoying losing ourselves in new and exciting worlds crafted by talented storytellers, but we love books – the physical objects. The paper, the cover, the binding, the typography, and even the blank separator page that slides between the title page and first chapter, teasing and preparing the reader for the rabbit hole they are about to fall into. Everything about a book we love.

Don’t get me wrong. I read primarily on my iPhone with the Kindle App. This digital arrangement works great for me. I don’t have to buy more shelf space for all the books I read. I can take it anywhere. And since it’s my phone, I just about never forget it. I often find myself waiting in a line or at the doctor’s office and viola! I can read my next favorite book.

But all that does not lessen my admiration for a real book. A book someone took the time to create with care. I enjoy the fact that someone created something that would not only hold words, but put those words in the best frame possible.

Therein lies the problem.

I would love to create my own books. From not only writing a great story, but also physically constructing the final product. I want to create the cover, decide on the type of binding, inspect all the typographic choices, set the type and illustrations – everything!

But what a phenomenally huge job! Where would I even start? I could print it out in my laser printer, cut each page to size, staple it up, slap a hand drawn illustration made from card stock on top, and call it good.

Alas, what I did back in grade school may have impressed my teachers, I kind of doubt that would impress anyone now.

Fear not writers. Even if you can’t get Amazon to publish your book, with the help of the Center of the Book in San Francisco, you can.

The Center of the Book is an amazing place where you can learn how to make a book. I plan on making a pilgrimage to this sacred place in the near future. I might even take a class. If I do, I’ll be sure to fill you in on the details.

Until then, go sniff a fresh-cut stack of paper and write something worthy to print on them.

(Note: all pictures snagged from The Center of the Book website.)

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6 thoughts on “Center of the Book

  1. Book-making is one of those skills I hope is never lost. I’m like you, I love a beautifully crafted book as an object. I have many books in my collection that I hold onto just because they’re gorgeous and finely crafted and a real pleasure to hold and leaf through and admire.

    Thanks for sharing this, Nila.

    1. Alas, it is currently closed, but it may open again soon. There’s supposed to be a good one in San Francisco that I need to go visit. If you ever are in this neck of the woods, let’s make it a date!

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