ooks are meant to be read. At the same time, there is nothing wrong with enjoying a bit of luxury when reading. As Joanna Lumley says ‘You don’t have to be posh to be privileged.’ You might have guessed that I’m a sucker for fine editions. I dislike badly produced books. I like what I read and more so, when I know that care and good craftsmanship of the highest expertise has taken place to produce the book I am reading.
informal; a person especially susceptible to or fond of a specified thing
I appreciate the time it takes to craft fine books—that is because the heart of any book is its words, and reading them should be a pleasure. Each book is unique. Decisions on binding design, material or typeface will be made to reflect and complement its content.
I like the fact that books are printed on wood and acid free paper so they won’t go brown or brittle like most of trade paperbacks. Different papers are chosen for different books—some are creamy, other pure white, some ‘laid’ or ‘woven.’
I love the rich assortment of materials used to bound a book such as buckram, cloth, leather (goat, sheep or calf), silk (crushed or moiré), cotton, and the use of printed or hand-marbled paper. I like the fact that my book does not fall apart after the first read because the spines are sewn, not glued, for lasting strength. I appreciate the final minute touches of gold blocking and gold gilded page edges and the thought of including a permanent satin ribbon page-marker so that I don’t have go looking for a spare scrap piece of paper for a bookmark.
I am very fond of slipcases and solander boxes because they protect your books by eliminating dust and take on the odd accidental bumps here-and-there leaving your treasured books unharmed and still ‘as new’ in the years to come. Dust-jackets with flashy artwork were originally invented as a marketing ploy in crowded bookshops to mark your attention so that you might pick the book but they don’t protect your book at all and are flimsy and easily torn.
That is the reason why I buy fine press editions from the Folio Society, Easton Press, Franklin Library, Westvaco and Arion Press. Other fine press editions are waiting to be discovered. What do you like?