Archives for category: Reviews

There are (at least) two sides to self publishing. Some self-published authors do it because they relish the process, while others do it almost reluctantly, frustrated by their inability to find a traditional publisher who’ll nurture their baby. Members of the second group are probably unlikely to be as successful as the first group — many of whom have managed to be wildly successful and have earned scads of money. (Be it said, yet again, self publishing does not mean second-rate publishing. It’s just a different way into the marketplace.)

In addition to the problem of getting their books into libraries, which I wrote about yesterday, one of the difficulties facing self publishers is attracting serious review attention. The number of print media book pages has declined sharply in the past ten years, and if large publishing companies are chafing at their inability to elbow all of their books into the review pages of noted publications, you can imagine the frustration facing the self publisher. Now, someone like Hugh Howey, who has established a huge following, will clearly suffer less than his frustrated peers. Print reviews of self-published books remain vanishingly rare: the key to success resides in social media. The most successful self-published authors have an audience which follows them on social media, and eagerly awaits news of their next offering. Jane Friedman provides a link to her 2015 report on social media use for the self published.

One extreme solution for those desperately seeking review coverage is just to buy it. I wrote about this under the title Sock puppetry a few years ago. For an account of how such endeavor can go awry please go to The Shed at Dulwich and view the amusing video there in which a paid reviewer takes things to their logical conclusion.

If you have a publisher you can blame them for whatever goes wrong — and this might just be one of the best reasons for some authors to go the traditional route.* If you’ve slaved to get reviewed, you can go wild if the resulting review isn’t as wildly enthusiastic as your own blurb would be, but realistically there’s not a lot you can do about it. Or is there? Here’s a cautionary tale from Smart Bitches, Trashy Books (via The Passive Voice). The Digital Reader provides a roundup of the same saga.

See also Reviews of self-published books.


*Other reasons are discussed at Do we really need book publishers?

George Orwell’s 1936 essay Bookshop Memories (the text of which which may be found here) recounts his reactions to a short career in bookselling. He wasn’t exactly enthusiastic. A few years ago we might have kept our fingers crossed when reading his confident forecast “The combines can never squeeze the small independent bookseller out of existence as they have squeezed the grocer and the milkman.”  — Now it’s the combines which are in trouble, and I think we are all feeling a good deal more confident about the future of the small independent bookseller — almost as confident as George Orwell did.

Shaun Bythell, owner of The Book Shop in Wigtown, Scotland, a used book store, starts each month of his The Diary of a Bookseller (Melville House, 2018) with an extract from Orwell’s essay and a brief comment about it.  The Book Shop is surprisingly large as you can see from this video, the making of which is described in the book.

If you don’t see a video here, please click on the title of this post and view it in your browser.

The Diary of a Bookseller is predictably in day-by-day format and covers one year (2014-15). Mr Bythell writes an accessible, friendly prose commenting wryly on the frequent emergencies of bookshop life. He tracks the daily number of customers, amount of money in the till, and online orders. What surprised me most perhaps is how much money was involved, and at the same time paradoxically how little of it there was. He also recounts many purchasing forays: one feels that by the end of the year he must have had a lot more stock than at the beginning. As he says in the video “I’ve got more stock than an Oxo cube”.

Customers, as Orwell suggested, inevitably present problems, though discretion perhaps prevents too much open rudeness about them. My queasiness about the entire book is probably the result of a suspicion that the tone of his account of the book world is pretty much the same as mine would be. He often says things of the sort which I am quietly reminded are not as funny as I like to think they are. He even touches on one or two oddities of the book world which I’ve chosen to write about here in the past. Much fun is poked at Nicky, a surprisingly knowledgeable if somewhat erratic assistant, who leads off the rap performance in the video above (the third performer being Anna, Mr Bythell’s American girlfriend).

But despite any reservations I did like the book, and since, with this format, you can’t really have one without the other, I liked the author too, including the books he told us he was reading at the time he was writing his diary. I’m definitely not visiting Wigtown. I might decide to stay.

The Melville House webpage (linked to above) has a nice video featuring Mr Bythell’s helpful advice on Kindle repair. Making videos is one of his sidelines.

At Medium, Glenn Fleishman offers us the introduction to his book London Kerning. The subtitle might make you think this was a sort of walking-tour-guide, but it’s not. The main focus of the book is St Bride’s Printing Library off Fleet Street and The Type Archive, south of the river. Fleishman is a fan of Berthold Wolpe, and there’s discussion of his type designs, primarily Albertus, used for much London signage, and of Edward Johnston, designer of the London Underground’s typeface, and other modern type designers. He takes us to three shops where letterpress is still being carried on.

In the Times Literary Supplement of 22-29 August 2014, Jim Campbell in his NB column took Nate Rich to task for his critique of Haruki Murakami’s style in a review of Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and his Years of Pilgrimage, pointing out that the style Rich is critiquing is actually the style of the translator (who is not named in the review). If reviewers don’t speak the language from which book has been translated, there’s surely no way for them to make judgements about the style of the original. In the face of a bit of clotted prose we can assume the translator has either faithfully followed the original author’s tortuous style, or that he/she not done a very good job of Englishing it; the mess thus not being the original author’s fault. Unless you go to the original, or research criticism of it, you really can’t decide which is more likely. So if the reviewer doesn’t read the language of the original, then it’s a step too far to criticize the author’s use of that language.

JC rails again in his 25 September column. Joanna Briggs in reviewing Elena Ferrante’s The Story of the Lost Child waxes lyrical about the author’s style. As JC describes it:

Ms Biggs cites a passage of four sentences, including this one: “We would have written together, we would have been authors together, we would have drawn power from each other, we would have fought shoulder to shoulder . . .” She then proceeds to tell us how the writing works: “the second sentence — ‘we would . . . we would . . . we would’ uses repetition to create a sort of ironic momentum to this exemplary intellectual life they could never have had”. The fourth quoted sentence is “unlovely, with its rough prepositional phrases, with more than one ‘yet’: writing unpolished enough to be lifelike”.

We haven’t read the original, Storia della bambina perduta. If Ms Briggs has, she doesn’t say. But the effects that so impress her — repeated “we would”, unpolished “yet” — are created out of words chosen by the translator, Ann Goldstein, not Elena Ferrante. It may well be that she achieves the same effects in Italian, by similar means, but that’s a different matter.

And so it is. We have gotten much better at noticing the translator: respectable review media almost always mention the translator, but we haven’t managed as well to focus our reviewing on the real target, the way the translating has been done. There’s nothing wrong with criticism of the author’s style but that would involve reference to the original text as well as to the translation. Reviewing a translated novel as a novel is OK, but ideally we want our reviewer to review it as a translated novel, which would involve the reviewer’s actually reading the book in its original language as well. It would perhaps not be too unreasonable to expect this of a reviewer in responsible media. In this regard Tim Parks is a good example: see his review of the English translation, also by Ann Goldstein, of Jhumpa Lahiri’s memoir written in Italian. See also his related essay on writing in a language not your own.

Here’s an interesting discussion from Asymptote of the dos and don’ts of reviewing translated books. I agree that it isn’t essential for a reviewer to be fluent in the original language: I just think that in such a case the reviewer has to refrain from commenting on the language and style of the “book”.

It is gratifying to note that there seems to be an increase in the number of translated books being covered in our remaining print review media. The 3%-ers should be pleased. Actually I did notice that we run the risk of breaching that 3% ceiling — will they have to change their name to 4%? I remain unrepentantly skeptical of this 3% complaint. As I wrote before 3% of a big number may be more than 14% of a smaller one, and in 2011 it was. To update the numbers in that earlier post we can now say that 14% of the books published in France represents 10,918 titles, while 3% of those published in the USA comes to 10,170 books. Does the similarity of the numbers not suggest a similar interest in other cultures? We continue to increase the number of translations into English that we publish, but that number is merely a number; it’s not a measure of our cultural openness or any other kind of virtue.

Karin Wulf reviews reviewing at The Scholarly Kitchen. She selects an epitome of the review article format from The New York Review of Books, and demonstrates how it works. “The most effective review brings readers — those who have read or might read the book, but often those who have not and may not — into a broader, informed conversation about the topics the book addresses.”

In scholarly publishing reviewing is done both pre- and post-publication, and both are vital to the health of the academic community in the widest sense. Academics do reviewing mostly as a service to their community. Any remuneration for pre-publication reviews will be modest, often taking the form of a few books. Academic journals tend not to pay reviewers: you review in order to help guide your discipline forward, but also to keep your name in your colleagues’ eyes. You also get a free copy of the book.

Notoriously review media have been under pressure in recent years, and there are just fewer and fewer places where books can be reviewed in the print media. Apart from its obvious significance in the academic world, how important is the review process though? Do trade books need to be reviewed in order to succeed? Obviously not if one thinks of high fliers like Fifty Shades of Grey. However, no publisher would say that there’s no point in trying to get a book reviewed: it’s all part of trying to create that word-of-mouth buzz which is the marketing gold standard. One of the old saws we mumble now and again is “There’s no such thing as a bad review”. Any attention is better than no attention. This is of course not really true — a bad review can be a killer, especially with academic books — but the implication of second part is almost always true: getting the book talked about is (almost) always a good thing. Word-of-mouth is the real secret sauce.

Could it be that what we tend to think of when we see the words “book review” is on its way to extinction? Or perhaps to a lonely existence at the bottom of an Amazon page? I think there’s no likelihood of the disappearance of review articles of the type discussed by Ms Wulf: people just want to write about books which stimulate open-ended thinking, and an article about the American Revolution which is provoked by a particular new book is just as likely to see publication as any other article about the American Revolution (which is anyway just less explicitly inspired by previously published work).

The assumption that books get reviewed as a consequence of a free copy of the book being sent to the journal and then allocated by the editor to one of their reviewers who gets to keep the book afterwards (or to sell it off at The Strand) is so deeply ingrained, that we no longer consider whether there’s any ethical issue here. Of course there is, and this is being highlighted by the controversy over paid reviews on Amazon. The issue is starkly clarified if you think of someone getting an $800 refrigerator in return for a favorable review. Are product reviews different from book reviews? What about music reviews? What about reviews of theatrical shows? What about reviews of holiday resorts? Books are relatively cheap, so maybe this makes it less of an issue, but this doesn’t seem to make attempts to pay for coverage go away. See the examples in Digiday‘s article (linked to via The Passive Voice).

See also Purchased reviews, and Reviews sell books don’t they?

We all click our teeth about people trying to arrange for favorable reviews of their books or buying masses of copies so they’ll get onto the bestseller list. Now The Guardian (via Book Riot) reveals that Marcel Proust paid substantial sums to get favorable notices of Du côté de chez Swann onto the front pages of a couple of papers. He wrote the glowing reviews himself and sent them to his publisher to be retyped so that handwriting wouldn’t betray the evidence.

Is this OK? Does the fact that the book would (one assumes) have been a world-wide success anyway, somehow make this maneuver forgivable — was he just gilding the lily, but the flower remains a lily nevertheless? (Or should I strive here for a metaphor involving white and black swans?)

Not sure that it is OK, though of course, for all we know the practice may be much more common than we’d like to believe. Poor old Proust just got found out because copies of correspondence about the dodge surfaced in a copy of the book. Should we be more surprised that Proust was sufficiently lacking in self-confidence that he would stoop to such a trick, or that he was sufficiently unsure of the value of his work that he thought it needed such a boost? Or, perhaps, was this just what everyone did back then?

Log rolling may be quite widespread — you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours — but somehow we feel less censorious about a writer favorably reviewing a competitor’s book and then, surprise, surprise, finding that that competitor returns the complement with a similar rave. Though such a “deal” may not be a proper agreement discussed ahead of time, but merely based on an assumption of mutuality, such reviews could be said to be only half a step away from drafting the review yourself. Anonymous reviewing used to be the norm. The Times Literary Supplement started naming reviewers in 1974. What went on behind the anonymity? Maybe there’s a PhD topic in linguistic analysis of anonymous reviews to see how often they were written by the author of the book under review.

“Blurbing” has come to mean the writing of favorable comments which appear on the jacket or cover of a book. (Dictionaries appear to ignore “blurb” as a verb, though it is surely in fairly common usage.) There is no doubt a rich vein of mutuality in blurbing. We like to pretend that book reviewers are all honest and above cheap trickery. But even if you are not guilty of puffing a lousy book by a friend, reviewing something written by someone you share a lot with cannot fail to tempt you towards yes, rather than no. And this can be perfectly innocent/subconscious — you are bound, aren’t you, to find yourself agreeing with what a like-minded writer says, and what’s a friend but a like-minded acquaintance?

Reviews on Amazon are notoriously unreliable. It’s obviously a good idea to read these with a salt cellar to hand. I find them useful for factual information, about the content, say. I’ve never been tempted to act on the opinions or value judgements of a complete stranger (who could even be a robot) whose qualifications (or lack thereof) are not manifest.

I find intellectual property a rather offensive term. Maybe because it always sounds a tiny bit boastful, but perhaps also because I’d prefer not to have to think of Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck as intellectuals! Of course under copyright, the IP law we principally deal with, it’s not the ideas that are protected, just the tangible expression of the ideas, the form of words in which they are expressed. Apparently I’m not alone in this unease about the term: the Wikipedia article outlines the arguments. Intellectual property is protected by three main legal maneuvers — copyright, patents and trademarks, though there are other less obvious methods including trade secrets law, industrial design rights, and trade dress.

The Scholarly Kitchen brings us a thoughtful review by Karin Wulf of Siva Vaidhyanathan’s Intellectual Property: A Very Short Introduction. VSIs live in bookshops in their own spinners, replenished on an ongoing basis. However the spinner in the New York store where I eventually got hold of the book a couple of weeks ago doesn’t seem to be being replenished by anyone. I went into one branch or other of Book Culture’s three outlets over a period of four months or so, only to be told thrice that the book was out of stock at the publisher. (Maybe they just said “out of stock”, and cynic that I am, I assumed this meant a screw up at the publisher. I knew that the books in this series are printed in England, so delays might be possible.) On my fourth visit the indiscrete assistant told me they’d actually never received their first order into the store, and that if I wanted to order it I could have it in a day or two as the books had been lying in their warehouse since March. I did, and 24 hours later, there it was. And Book Culture is one of New York’s more successful book chains! Of course this isn’t an expensive book, but what bookstore can afford to ignore a well-reviewed $11.95 book, one that is getting customer enquiries, and especially one where the spinner merchandising format is intended to make customers pick up more than the single volume they’d come looking for?

Oxford University Press’s Very Short Introductions is a successful series of brief authoritative introductions to a wide variety of (serious) topics. The VSI site suggests there are 533 of them, while the OUP site listed in the book yields  a count of 577. The book itself claims 508. Either way it’s a lot, and the number is growing rapidly. The series is clearly modeled on the Que sais-je series published by les presses universitaires de France. To me, it’s an obvious idea for a university press with good trade distribution. I floated the idea of just such a Que sais-je knockoff series when I was a junior editor in Cambridge 45 or so years ago — I clearly didn’t pursue it with sufficient energy! More fool me.

Professor Vaidhyanathan emphasizes that it was the development of search engines and the internet which turned the rather quiet world of intellectual property protection into the frenzied money business it is now. Suddenly it looked like everything was about to leak away, and suddenly we all realized how valuable it all might be. Copyright was quickly transformed from individual right into corporate asset. He uses the concept of paracopyright to describe the erosion of our rights under copyright. Of course we all tend now to copy and paste with gay abandon, working on the assumption that if someone put it up without any protective notice they must be willing to see it reused. It’s like a Creative Commons license without any acknowledgment thereof — at least I hope so!

The author writes in an easy style including lots of anecdotes. He reveals that the story of the loss of copyright in the song “Happy Birthday to You” has a kicker, in that Warner/Chappell were adjudged by a US court in 2015 never to have held copyright at all in the song on which they’d been cleaning up permissions fees for decades. They have already settled for $14 million to people wrongly charged for using the song.

We need to remember that IP laws tend to vary from nation to nation. Professor Vaidhyanathan tells us how Angelica Huston was able to prevent the colorization of her father’s film The Asphalt Jungle — but in France only, not USA. Under US copyright law John Huston was regarded as having made the work for hire, and thus to have owned no rights in the movie. His daughter thus didn’t inherit any rights, but in France the force of the “right of paternity”, a moral right under le droit d’auteur, enabled her to assert creative control on her father’s behalf.

Professor Vaidhyanathan’s book is a notable achievement of compression, and anyone involved in the media will benefit from reading it. Maybe you’ll even be able to find it on Book Culture’s spinner now.


Maybe we shouldn’t be surprised, but who’s got the motivation to place hostile or wildly favorable fake reviews on Amazon? Hillary Clinton’s latest, What Happened was published last Tuesday, and overnight more than 1,600 reviews had been posted on Amazon. The reviews were extremely polarized, about half panning it and half giving it 5 stars. While it is of course possible that these people all stayed up all night to read the book, the assumption is that they were motivated by the same sort of animus on display during our recent election. Amazon has decided to remove all the reviews, as presumptively “fictitious”, except for the 338 which were posted by Verified Purchasers, customers who had definitely bought the book at Amazon and so had at least paid for it. It is of course impossible to know whether these Verified Purchasers had actually read the book overnight. Slate (via Book Riot) reports on Amazon’s response.

Polarization seems to be our default mode nowadays. Even people who don’t hold extreme views seem to feel the need to express their moderation in extreme terms. I was chided just the other day for demanding death and destruction for those who don’t toe my mild liberal line.

I dare say a bunch of reviews, good or bad, is not going to make much difference to the sales of Secretary Clinton’s book. You’re not going to be reading it because critics say it’s well crafted literature (I’ve no idea whether it is or isn’t): you’re going to be reading it because you are interested in what she has to say by way of explanation for an election loss which many still find hard to believe. It’s the sort of book you order without thoughts of quality: you just want to know what it says. I’d be surprised (if it weren’t for this kerfuffle) if anyone would have bothered to look at the Amazon reviews. And, other than letting off steam, what do the reviewers think their reviews are going to achieve? Does anyone think that a single person is going to decide against buying the book because “Wrathful of Podunk” claims it’s no good? Or the opposite I guess goes for the Clintoniacs.

All publicity is good publicity.

The first thing that struck me about Keith Houston’s The Book (W. W. Norton, 2016, $29.95) was the deconstructed binding. It’s like a three-piece binding without the sides. The only bit of cloth is the red spine. The bare binders board is exposed front and back, teaching by showing how a book’s case is constructed. I don’t think you can make it out in this photo, but the only thing on the back board which isn’t printed black on the raw board is the barcode. In order that the barcode should be scannable (i.e. have sufficient definition and clarity) they have had to print it on a white label and stick it (very straight and accurately) onto the board. It’s wonderful what these Chinese book manufacturers can (still) do.

You can see the braces down the side of the copy identifying the different elements. This technique (again, teaching by showing) continues inside the book, as can be seen from this photo of page 1.

Every Chinese schoolchild can (allegedly) tell you that Cai Lun invented paper, and Mr Houston tells the story, with narrative aplomb. Mark Kurlansky doesn’t beat about that bush “Cai Lun did not invent paper” he states in his Prologue: after his account Mr Houston also reveals to us that records exist of paper being made in China long before Cai Lun’s time, but his story is the one that sticks in the mind.

Mr Houston is a reliable and entertaining narrator. I think it’s fair to say that in his 26 pages about paper making you will develop a better understanding of the procedure than you’d garner from the entire 336-page volume Paper by Mr Kurlansky.

The focus of the book is historical. We learn about the development of writing systems, the making of papyrus, the growing popularity of parchment and paper, the work of scribes, all the major figures in book history, plus how what we now expect in a book and its format came to evolve. It’s not that you won’t develop an understanding of today’s book manufacturing industry — you’ll just pick it up as it were along the way. And the author does end the book with a very detailed colophon telling us all about this particular book’s manufacture, in China where we seem to have to go nowadays to get anything done in the old-fashioned ways at an affordable price.

The book is generously annotated. There are 62 pages of endnotes, and a sprinkling of footnotes. There isn’t a complete bibliography; rather a 3-page list of Further Reading, which is I guess OK. You can dig anything special out of the endnotes. Many color illustrations are spread throughout, printed on the cream text stock: some of these are a bit flat and murky though.

This is a very good book. I thoroughly enjoyed it and learned a lot.

Mr Houston, who is the man behind the Shady Characters blog, will be giving a talk on book history at The British Library on 3 July. I bet it’ll be worth the ten quid.


9780393239614_198Mark Kurlansky’s book Paper: Paging through history (W. W. Norton, $27.95) is the sort of book I should love. I’m interested in the subject; it’s a good-looking bit of production; I know a little about paper and should be a sucker for dollops of recondite information about the subject. So why did I find it so hard to read?

This is a busy book in which we learn a little bit about a lot of things. The author tells us too much about a few things and too little about too many. — Scouring around for topics to write about? Here’s one: hanji.* OK, two paragraphs’ll do — now off to China. In a book about paper where the uses for paper other than as “communication paper” get virtually no mention (though to be fair, some such uses do occasionally get mentioned and then mentioned again, just rarely discussed in any depth) we should not perhaps be surprised that something as omnipresent as the toilet roll only gets a single glancing reference. Well one’s better than none, which is what many uses of paper get. We do get several separate references to the paper required for bullets, but we are never told what distinguishes this paper from say, tissue paper (which isn’t mentioned at all) and what characteristics it requires. I suppose origami is relevant in a work about paper: but relevant enough to get more attention that the difference between coated and uncoated papers, or wood-free as against groundwood (which I can’t remember ever being directly referenced here)? Marbled paper is dealt with as if it were a distinct form of paper: surely it’s not — it’s a method of printing on paper, which, surprise surprise, is actually paper. I did learn that those leather-look labels on jeans are in fact made of paper! The irresistible diversion is rarely resisted: we are told much more about the origins of the French national anthem than we are to learn about calender rolls. I have to concede that the mechanics of making paper by hand gets a decent amount of attention, if only cumulatively, here and there.

Now this bittiness may actually be intentional. The trick of following an apparently unimportant item wherever it takes you does of course constitute Mr Kurlansky’s schtick. He did it with Cod, which I remember enjoying, and with Salt. Trouble is, paper is a bit more unfocussed than these basic items. Cellulose might have been a better title for Mr Kurlansky’s bent, except that nobody would have bought such a book. Or Wood. He should probably write about fairly straightforward things with an interesting variety of uses, rather than a complex product, available in a dizzying variety of forms, with correspondingly myriad uses. His tour d’horizon technique breaks down here: he starts his survey historically and then slides into a sort of regional tour of the world.

The main cleverness in quoting Eden Phillpotts’ novel Storm in a Teacup may reside in actually having located a novel about paper making. Surely one could come up with references to labor issues in the paper industry as it transitioned from a hand craft to a machine industry which were not fictional.

There is a book to be written here. Take time to make it clear, with step-by-step description and diagrams and pictures how paper is made and what it’s made of. Then take a variety of products and tell us something meaningful about them. I bet there’s a story, more interesting that Mr Kurlansky’s single mention, behind wallpaper. We could be told more about cartridge paper — I mean paper used in cartridges, not the smooth opaque sheet of paper made in Britain (which isn’t mentioned here at all). Paper in building might be nice to know about. The humble paper bag probably has more to it than meets the eye. The one I’m looking at now, a plain white bag which holds a loaf from our local supermarket, tells me it was made by Novolex in Florence, Kentucky. Why? They have a plant in Elizabeth, New Jersey. Is there a story here? If so, Mr Kurlansky doesn’t tell it. Certainly paper as used by artists could be an interesting chapter — here it’s dealt with piecemeal, now here, now a few chapters on, and then again near the end of the book.

However one should not review the book the author didn’t write: this is the one he did come up with. Maybe I care too much about the subject. When you notice small errors of fact about something you know, you inevitably begin to suspect error lurking behind every statement. But that’s not even the main problem I had: the book needs to be thoroughly shaken into focus. It has lots of good little bits spread about. It’s organization and editing that are desperately needed. The book has the feel of a suggestion leaped upon by a writer flailing about for an idea for his next project. But Mr Kurlansky has already written 28 books: surely ideas are not what he’s lacking. Sad to say, the book gives the impression it was written as a pile of good ideas each drafted separately on a bunch of 4″ x 6″ index cards which were then dropped on the floor and reassembled in slightly random order. I found it hard to read, and was disappointed.

The publisher manages to get in on the pervasive imprecision, selectiveness and softness of focus in their colophon† — nice that they have one of course. Here they tell us “This book was printed on Sebago paper, an acid-free sheet manufactured by Glatfelter, a prominent American paper maker founded in 1864.” None of this is wrong: it’s just slightly misleadingly put together, and omits certain (to me anyway) important details. What basis weight was the paper, how many ppi, what shade? Sebago is actually a sheet supplied by Lindenmeryr Paper Company, a paper merchant. They do get it made in Spring Grove, but could make it elsewhere — I remember its being made for them in Maine at the S. D. Warren plant. Glatfelter could sell you a sheet which matches it closely, but they couldn’t sell you Sebago; only Lindenmeyr can do that. Not that important, I agree; but too trivial to get wrong surely.

Mark Kurlansky will be addressing the April 11th meeting of The Book Industry Guild of New York.


* Literally “Korean paper. It’s made of the bark of the paper mulberry, or sometimes Broussonetia kazinoki — the same bark as is used for washi. The book is full of facts.

† I used this colophon as an illustration to my recent post on Dante, the typeface in which this book is set, so you can read it there.