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I'm writing a detective story set halfway between San Francisco and the internet. And the more people who reserve a copy, the better each one will be!
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    1. Missing avatar

      Marsha LaTessa on

      Maybe one of the handbag designers using recycled tires could give you some ideas.,,,

    2. Kimberly Cain on

      Hi Robin! I'm just getting ready to post my project on KickStarter. I'm also finished with my novel & a year into the research for printing it. I already have a GREAT printer - they specialize in book printing, which is cool because it's different from printing all the other stuff. They're called Friesen's. Call the gal who's been my rep - Tiffany - & she can walk you through the process. You'll be surprised at what you can get - quality, quantity, etc. They'll send you samples, blah, blah, blah. Excited for you! 204.324.6401

    3. Missing avatar

      Peter on

      Tubes come in different circumferences, so some of them you could get a pretty wide series of strips out of...

    4. Robin Sloan Creator on

      Not 100% sure I want rubber. But it's a weird/interesting idea. It's certainly very San Francisco. I wonder how you'd practically use the inner tubes... like, you'd have to make a patchwork of pieces, right? Or maybe it's just a strip that gets used -- on the spine, perhaps.

    5. Missing avatar

      Peter on

      So you need recycled materials and you want rubber? I seriously think bike inner tubes is a great resource. Call some bike shops and ask if you can have their throw aways from changes. Call the Bike Kitchen. Not sure how you could rope in some SFBC people, but it should be possible. Reusing your bike tubes for bike related maintenance is already kind of a thing in the DIY bike community...

    6. Robin Sloan Creator on

      @Saheli: That's actually a good, and serious, point. The book will be vegetarian. It will also, to the degree possible, be made from recycled materials. (I'll be writing about those choices as I make them.)

    7. Saheli on

      Wait a minute, is it too late to ask that I not receive four copies of a book made with chicken legs or anything like that? Vegetarian book, please?

    8. Robin Sloan Creator on

      @Jason: That's a good benchmark, and a good idea (getting the books from the printer in a sort of unfinished state). Thanks for both.

      @Mike: You just ruined the surprise.

      @Saheli: Bookhunter is one of my favorite comics <i>ever</i>. Talk about utterly unique. I don't need to get it printed locally, no, but it seems like a good move if possible, for reasons both karmic and logistical.

    9. Saheli on

      Have you been to the Center for the Book Arts? I feel like I've seen handbound books that are not rustic at all, but very non-traditional.
      Do you need to get it printed locally?
      Have you read The Bookhunter by Jason Shiga?

    10. Missing avatar

      Mike Shen on

      Back when my wife was into bookbinding, I went with her to a bookbinding supply store in New York. There was an enterprising salesman there trying to persuade the storeowner to buy chicken feet as a novelty bookbinding material. I kid you not.

    11. Missing avatar

      Jason Black on

      In my other life as a small indie publisher, we did a print run of 500 books for something like $3.50 apiece. Granted, that was by going as absolutely stock-standard as we could: trade paperback size, perfect-bound paperback. We did do a glossy color cover, which looks awesome. This was from a printer somewhere in the Seattle area--local for me, anyway. Let me know if you want me to track down their details or anything (one of my business partners handled the logistics there).

      With your pagecount (which will be low), you ought to be able to trade page-count-driven cost for other snazziness somehow. Maybe you can find a cheap printer who will be willing to print and bind the books with a _blank_ cover, and sell them to you _untrimmed_. That'll definitely save cost. Then you can take those to the we'll-do-anything shop, have them fuse thin neoprene sheeting to the front--Maybe die-cut it with a title or something first. That'd be cool--then trim to final size.

    12. Missing avatar

      Brendan Curry on

      The paper library sounds amazing. Thames and Hudson did a book with a rubber cover a few years back: As I recall, the rubber cover was glued to a traditional paperback cover.

    13. Missing avatar

      Cara Powers on

      I definitely agree that hand binding won't give you the right aesthetic for this project. Instead of rubber, could you use practically indestructible water-proof paper. I know it exists: offers to print business cards on it.

    14. Mark C-F on

      Sounds like you're having fun with every step of writing this book. Both happy-fun and sad-fun. As others have commented, if you want something unique, but also want the economies of scale, might need to look outside of local printers...

    15. Robin Sloan Creator on

      @Peter, @Valerie: I love the way you guys think. I need to get exactly that creative.

      @Aaron: It wasn't any particular material or step -- it was the fact that they weren't optimized for any of it. At Lulu, it's cheap not <i>only</i> because you're printing many copies of the same book, but because Lulu is printing many books of the same basic dimensions, materials, etc.

      I have some hand-bound books, and I have to say, I don't think hand-binding provides the right feel for this story, considering the style and the setting. It tends to be so... rustic. That said, I'm thinking hard about some extra steps that could be done by hand...

    16. Missing avatar

      Aaron Mcleran on

      You know what? Do it yourself! I'll come over and help...
      You probably already read this, but the wiki article on book binding has all sorts of cool links to do-it-yourself tutorials... and companies that do it:

    17. Missing avatar

      Aaron Mcleran on

      I admit I don't really understand what was so expensive... I'm curious as to the details of your book design. Maybe give us a number as to how much it would cost? I say you bypass the locals!

      And check out these guys:

      Just think -- the book could look like a 500 year old artifact!

    18. Valerie on

      We should go on a quest for rubber. Bring out the pitch forks and we will scour the neighborhoods!

    19. Missing avatar

      Peter on

      You could totally get rubber donated by SFBC folks...

    20. Anna Marie on

      This was a great post. Thanks.