More of the Same

Continuing our examination of contemporary limited edition books from trade publishers, an example each of how to & how not to...

I recently found a copy of this catalogue of books published by the Kaldewey Press. Very attractive book, well designed & printed in Germany, bound in flexible boards. I confess to not having ever heard of Gunnar Kaldewey or his press, which is based in New York, and it's re-assuring to know there are still surprises out there for me in the world of contemporary presses. One reason I may not have known of his work is because it's more on the artist's book side of the spectrum, where I don't generally travel. A big part of my lack of interest for the over-there is that, too often the phrase "artist's book" is used as an excuse for a lack of understanding and poor execution. This is not the case with Kaldewey: the creativity and artistry are based on a strong technical foundation, and an appreciation for materials and how to work with them. But to the point: this is how you complement a trade edition with a limited version. (No copies can be found listed online.)

Next we have the how-not: heard an interview with Francis Ford Coppola on Fresh Air over the weekend. A (sort-of) facsimile of the bible (my word) he assembled while planning and shooting The Godfather has been published. I wondered if there was a limited edition - seems a likely candidate - so I searched. Sure enough, there is.

First off, the trade edition - which is almost 800 pages - is being issued only in paperback. That's ridiculous, especially for the page count. But what really makes this a head slapper is that the limited edition is "a faithful reproduction of Coppola’s three-ring binder..." This is a rare example of a publisher finding an even cheaper, shittier way to "bind" an edition than the paperback! Do you remember from high school what three-ring binders do to sheets? They get caught on the rings & torn up! Another warning sign that a publisher really doesn't know what they're doing is the complete lack of descriptive production details about the limited edition, starting with the number of copies.