bookleteer has collaborated with writer Tony White a number of times on workshops and publications, however, I only became aware of his publishing venture – Piece of Paper Press – this week despite the fact that it’s been running for 16 years! In this time, 25 publications have been released, the latest one being Atomanotes by Liliane Lijn which was launched just this week.
Each Piece of Paper Press publication is a run of 150 books and each book is made from a double-side-printed sheet of A4 paper, folded three times and cut and stapled to create a 16-page A7-size book. Once printed the books are given away to people who attend the publication launch, to participants and to supporters of Piece of Paper Press. Despite the technological developments that have occurred in the 16 years since Piece of Paper Press began the production process is the same as it was at the beginning and Tony believes that it’s simplicity and low cost are the reasons why he has continued putting out these books for such a long time.
In a fascinating post on The Literary Platform, Tony writes that he feels the flipside to these methods of production and distribution is that “producing something this ephemeral in such relatively small quantities seems to go against the grain.” I would argue that Piece of Paper Press’s methods of making and sharing are actually adding value to their books in ways that digital accessibility is often unable to do. Printing only 150 copies gives a rarity to the books that will only increase with time and touches on ideas in this post on 3 Ways to Share.
In the same post Tony describes the process of physically making the books as a simple, repetitive and social occasion.
“for the past 16 years once or twice a year I’ve sat down for a morning or an afternoon with a pile of printed A4 paper, a stapler and a Stanley knife. With me more often than not will have been an artist or a writer who will have spent a year or more producing a literary or graphic work that is suitable for a 16 page, A7 book. A few cups of tea and some conversation form the backdrop to a task that is a by definition repetitive, but which is also very social and above all is simple and functional.”
With only 25 publications in 16 years very few people will have had the chance to sit down with Tony and enjoy this time and these conversations and it seems to me that these social aspects of Piece of Paper Press publications have a value in terms of the relationship between author and publisher and book and reader that may not be as easy to achieve with digital books despite being able to reach a wider audience.