It's been a big day here at Century Press!
After months of planning and discussion, I finally received the prototype of The Great Gatsby from Laura (a.k.a. The Bookbinder's Daughter) at Smiths Falls Bookbinding. I owe her a big "Thank You" for helping me turn my ideas for a Century Press edition into a tangible reality. She's a third-generation artisan book binder with a heart of gold.
Speaking of gold, the gold foil cover art designed by Rachel Moranis really came out excellent. We were hoping for some extra detail in the stamping, but the up-cycled leather we're using for the bindings is a little more finicky than traditional bookbinding leather. Laura and I had to do a good bit of trial and error to stamp on this garment leather as it's typically treated with silicone and tends to stretch.
We were justly rewarded for our efforts because this leather feels unlike almost any other leather-bound book I've ever touched. I hate using this word, but truthfully, the leather is buttery. I suppose that's the upside of using deadstock leather from a designer clothing brand. It's honestly a pleasure to hold in your hands.
Of course, for all those binding nerds out there (are there any?), the pages of the book block are all sewn together for maximum durability. We have some decorative headbands and a built-in silk bookmark so you don't have the worry about losing yours. Even if you're the type to dog-ear the page, you'll want to avoid it, because the 100% cotton paper is thick with a lovely texture for each turn of the page.
Obviously, I took a fair number of photos of the prototype around the house that you'll either see on the website or social media. I thought I was doing the classic amateur photographer trick (i.e. taking pictures during the afternoon golden hour), but my wife said most of them just came out looking "sexy." I didn't believe you could achieve that in book photography, but I guess it's a good sign for the aesthetic appeal of our first book ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
So when can you expect to have a copy of your own?
Miles Corak told me he's finishing up his introduction to The Great Gatsby in the next few weeks, and I'm stoked to read it and get it typeset into the book. Once that's ready, I'm sending it over to Ian Bristow at We Do Printing to make the physical plates before having it letterpress printed. After that, it's off to the binder and lastly to me to hand-number (cool, eh?), before being shipped right to your door.
I've had "arriving Spring 2021," the last day of which is June 20th. Let's just say it's going to be close, but I think I can make it happen :)
Thanks for following and for your support!