Sunday, November 08, 2009

Finish work takes forever

I should have finished A Tango Diary weeks ago, but I always forget: The real work of bookbinding seems to come at the back end. It's not like, say, painting a room, where prepwork accounts for the bulk of the task. Oh no. Once you've printed, collated, and sewn the signature, then bound the thing, you have to put on the covers (careful now), knock up nice rounded-but-square corners (all four of them) and paste in endpapers (I made this extra-worky by putting in pockets; tell me, what books have pockets these days?).

All that takes about 35 more minutes per copy if I'm plugging along. It starts to seem like bookbinding's all about covering your tracks. Rough edges are trimmed and tucked away. Marked-up bookboard gets covered up completely and quickly like Mormon underwear. There are parts of the book the reader never sees. With A Tango Diary, it cracks me up that the pockets are lined, and I wonder if anyone will notice that flash of buff-colored Japanese paper as they slide in a business card.

But wait, we're still not done. I then stamp the colophon with my Chinese chop, and number the edition. Somewhere in here I should start the marketing, too. Speaking of, here's the suite of promo pix.


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