I was fortunate to be able to visit both printers this past weekend — Clare at Tiger Food Press and Charles at Eberhardt press, and both visits clarified why I’m Zōsan is being made in print.
Many times I’ve related to people wondering, sure, I could have easily made this book using Amazon CreateSpace faster and far cheaper. That way, I could sell it and promote it and get sales all over the place!
But it wouldn’t be what it really wanted to be: a book that on every level was touched by a human being, considered from every detail. One made of materials that will last and get better with every reading.
Both printers struck me with their effortless devotion and love of their crafts, whether it was the Ryobi and Kluge presses that Charles had in his shop or the drawers of handset type that Clare kept in her studio. And both were not only willing to enthusiastic about sitting down to chat with me about themselves and what they do.
This was another important part of this book for me, finding that human connection throughout the process. CreateSpace is an extreme example where I essentially interact with no one but a computer, and when I wanted a book I just tell the computers to print me another. Just. Like. The. Rest.
Each of the books made, be it letterpress or offset, has paper that was hand-cut (with appropriate industrial machinery, I’ll admit). Ink is put on rollers by a person as the printing process progresses, and pages are hand inspected. Even the audio book allowed me to connect with friends old and new as I sought voices beyond my own and characters I couldn’t have created alone.
I don’t dislike working alone, but this book has been a wonderful collaboration, and I’ll miss that. So much that I won’t want to call it done. But I will eventually, (er, rather soon if I want to get it to everyone) and it will hold all those thoughts, words, and joy somehow within each page for everyone who opens it to experience. That is my hope, at least.