Sunday, November 11, 2012

Fancied-up Books

In his post from August 28th, Henry Hébert offers many great ideas for taking trade books (originally paperback or hardcover is irrelevant - they're the same once the covers are off) and rebinding them. It is well worth the read, especially his description of building a shoulder where there is none. Also important to note is that his example is tight-backed, but there is no reason the book couldn't be casebound as in my examples below...

I don't like rebinding trade books for any number of reasons - bad design, boring paper, signatures (if extant) too fat, perfect bound... However, it happens often enough and is an established part of the trade. In the past two years I've had several opportunities to (re)bind just those kinds of books as presentation bindings to their authors who were retiring as faculty. These are fun, if at times conceptually challenging. Design-wise something more than quarter-leather with decorated sides is desirable, but the price needs to be reasonably affordable. Below two examples done for the same department.

The Weakness of God by John D. Caputo.

Disbound original trade paperback; adhesive-bound in the round with pastepaper endpapers by the binder; handsewn silk endbands; graphite top-edge; covered in full black goatskin; title and design elements tooled in gold and blind; enclosed is cloth-covered slipcase. Bound 2011.

Concept: Lacking any illustrations to work from, a nebula on paperback edition wrapper provided starting off point. The questions relating to existence and nature of God radiate out from the center, akin to the cosmological Big Bang.

The Corporeal Imagination by Patricia Cox Miller.

Original trade hardcover removed from textblock; endpapers with Roma doublures and flyleaves; handsewn silk endbands; graphite top-edge; covered in veiney calf-vellum with onlay of fish leather; title stamped in graphite; enclosed is paper and cloth-covered slipcase. Bound 2012.

Concept: Thematically more visual, this book included discussion of the representation of the holy in art and other objects. After looking at details of early Christian art - icons, church decorations, ... I went with a trinity. Body of Christ, blood of Christ, and symbol of Christ at their most basic.