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The Second Shelf is an online bookshop and quarterly publication of rare books and words by women.
The Second Shelf is an online bookshop and quarterly publication of rare books and words by women.
608 backers pledged £32,002 to help bring this project to life.

About

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£32,002

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The Second Shelf is a new quarterly print publication focused on increasing the visibility of women’s writing and contributions throughout history. 

Preliminary cover design
Preliminary cover design

Background

Which books end up on our bookshelves is heavily informed by a Western literary history, a history that has often erased women from critical and cultural conversations despite their tremendous contributions to literature. This imbalance cascades throughout our cultural institutions, insidiously shaping how we value women’s work and preserve it for future generations.

A mock spread from the quarterly
A mock spread from the quarterly

Our mission is to highlight and rediscover the accomplished work of women, inspire new and established collectors to read and invest in the work of women, and finally balance the bookshelves.

The Second Shelf is intersectional, inclusive, and expansive in our use of the term women as we embrace the multidefinitionality of gender identity and expression.

First editions of Muriel at the Metropolitan by Miriam Tlali, the first published novel by a black South African woman. Written in 1969, it was not published until 1975, at which time it was banned.
First editions of Muriel at the Metropolitan by Miriam Tlali, the first published novel by a black South African woman. Written in 1969, it was not published until 1975, at which time it was banned.

Our quarterly publication will be a mash-up between a rare book catalog and a literary magazine. The debut issue will feature original work and interviews from Lauren Groff, Jesmyn Ward, Dorthe Nors, Joanna Walsh, Ariana Reines, T. J. Jarrett, Susan Merrell, Michelle Dean, Mary Horlock, and other talented writers.

A stack of how-to-write and writing memoirs featured in our first issue.
A stack of how-to-write and writing memoirs featured in our first issue.

The works that our contributors discuss will be available for purchase through the catalog and in our online bookshop. 

The Second Shelf is focused on rare editions, modern first editions, artwork, manuscripts of unpublished work, and other rediscovered works by women and exceptional books relating to women's lives and history.

The Loiterers, an original 826-page handbound illustrated manuscript by Ida Bogue. It is unpublished.
The Loiterers, an original 826-page handbound illustrated manuscript by Ida Bogue. It is unpublished.

With your support we will move closer to a future where women's work takes up equal space on the bookshelves.

Rewards

Your pledges will go towards paying our contributors (we value their time and talent and are paying all involved); production costs: writing, designing, photographing, and printing of The Second Shelf: A Quarterly of Rare Books and Words by Women; and building our online bookshop. In return we have some fabulous rewards for you to choose from!

Poster

The Future of Books is Female Poster
The Future of Books is Female Poster

Riffing off the now famous feminist t-shirt design, "The Future is Female," made in the 1970s for Labyris Books, the first women’s bookstore in New York City, The Second Shelf's update reconnects a now iconic motto back to its book and bookstore-related origin. Marbled background based on paper handmade by The Second Shelf at the London Center for Book Arts. The poster will be A2 size - 420 × 594 cm / 16.5 x 23.4 in and printed digitally on high-quality matte archival paper.

Issues of The Second Shelf: A Quarterly

Mock spread from The Second Shelf: A Quarterly of Rare Books and Words by Women
Mock spread from The Second Shelf: A Quarterly of Rare Books and Words by Women

 You can get a hold of the quarterly publication in a number of ways:

  • Single digital copy of our inaugural issue
  • Single print copy of our inaugural issue
  • Yearly subscription

Tote bag

Preliminary design of The Future of Books is Female Tote Bag
Preliminary design of The Future of Books is Female Tote Bag
Preliminary design of Bookwoman Tote Bag
Preliminary design of Bookwoman Tote Bag

A high-quality canvas environmentally-minded tote bag printed by woman-run Enviro-Totes.

Surprise First Editions

Surprise! Backers can choose to receive a surprise first or signed first edition, which will arrive by mail in a beautifully-wrapped package. Joan Didion, Joy Williams, Alice Walker, Ursula LeGuin, Gwendolyn Brooks, Jeanette Winterson, Iris Murdoch, Jean Rhys, Anita Brookner, Ruth Prawer Jhabvala, Alison Lurie, Angela Carter, Toni Morrison, Rita Mae Brown, and Patricia Highsmith: these are just a small sample of the authors we have in stock. Books will all be in very good to fine condition and wrapped in projective mylar jackets.

Prints

A limited edition silkscreen print of Zora Neale Hurston's House. Commissioned by A. N. Devers from M+E.
A limited edition silkscreen print of Zora Neale Hurston's House. Commissioned by A. N. Devers from M+E.

A limited edition two color silkscreen print of Zora Neale Hurston's House commissioned in 2011 from M+E, now owners of Brooklyn's Books of Magic bookstore, by The Second Shelf proprietor, A. N. Devers, for her first passion project – a website dedicated to literary pilgrimage. One of eight authors' houses printed, many prints sold out, Hurston's humble home was not as popular at the time, but with the recent publication of her forgotten first book Barracoon, there's been an accompanying surge of interest in her work. Printed on high-quality archival matte paper. Dimensions: 12.5 X 19 in.

T-shirt

Preliminary The Future is Female T-shirt design
Preliminary The Future is Female T-shirt design

Backers will be able to pick from a selection of sizes and colors prior to delivery.

Sweatshirt

Preliminary The Future of Books is Female sweatshirt design
Preliminary The Future of Books is Female sweatshirt design

Backers will be able to pick from a selection of sizes and colors prior to delivery.

Letterpressed poem

A glimpse of Hurst Street Press's studio.
A glimpse of Hurst Street Press's studio.

A letterpress printed poetry broadside poem by the American poet, playwright, and performance artist, Ariana Reines, about Sylvia Plath's skirt, commissioned exclusively for and by The Second Shelf. Printed by Hurst Street Press.

Build a library

A selection of our first editions poetry stock.
A selection of our first editions poetry stock.

We are offering two library options. The first includes a surprise dozen of exceptional 20th-century novels in very good to fine condition, each signed by the author. The second is a library of 200 modern first editions in very good to fine condition representing a range of exceptional 20th-21st-century writing by women. Although no specific books or writers can be promised, based on the brief survey we will send backers, we will tailor each library to individual literary tastes.

Advertising space

The one-off opportunity to run your ad on the back cover of the quarterly (subject of approval of content). Available for issues 2-4, potentially for issue 1 if by some stroke of luck this reward is purchased in the days before we go to print on debut.

Sense and Sensibility 

A wonderful association copy that belonged to Martha Lloyd, Austen's closest friend. The existence of these volumes helps to document the strong bonds of friendship between two exceptional women.

Martha Lloyd’s copy of Sense & Sensibility. She was Jane Austen’s dearest friend, and encourager of her writing. This is a singular reward.
Martha Lloyd’s copy of Sense & Sensibility. She was Jane Austen’s dearest friend, and encourager of her writing. This is a singular reward.

We’d love to hear from you!

This is a woman-founded start-up and a social-purposed business and we are extremely grateful for the support and enthusiasm we've met with thus far. If you have any questions about this campaign, The Second Shelf bookshop, and its published quarterly, or ideas for collaborations, please get in touch. 

Founder and Publisher: 

A. N. Devers

Email: info@thesecondshelf.com

Twitter: @secondshelfbks

Instagram: @secondshelfbooks

Facebook: The Second Shelf

Website: The Second Shelf 

Risks and challenges

The Second Shelf is a new business thus faces all the risks that any start-up has to contend with. To-date, it is funded out-of-pocket by its founder, and by sales of rare books as she learned the rare book trade – the lucky acquisition and sale of a particularly lovely copy of a famous classic novel bought a great deal of The Second Shelf’s stock. This stock is ready to be sold and shipped with a successful Kickstarter and the launch of the online bookshop.

All other rewards are in hand or have been designed and commissioned and only await funds for production. The Second Shelf’s primary risk is the affordability and ambition for its printed quarterly. If it doesn’t find an audience outside of the rare book trade, it will likely be too expensive to continue to commission the writers we want to contribute to each issue, or maintain the freelance editorial and production help necessary to keep it in production at such a high level. However, if that is the case, the Second Shelf can always revert to issuing a standard rare book catalog, which we will be happy to share with our customers and funders.

Beyond that, our risk is minimal and our belief in and enthusiasm for The Second Shelf: A Quarterly of Rare Books and Words by Women far outweighs our concerns.

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Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge £10 or more About $13

    The Future of Books is Female Poster

    Riffing off the now famous feminist t-shirt design, "The Future is Female," made in the 1970s for Labyris Books, the first women’s bookstore in New York City, The Second Shelf's update reconnects a now iconic motto back to its book and bookstore-related origin. Marbled background originates from paper handmade by The Second Shelf at the London Center for Book Arts.

    Includes:
    • Future of Books Poster
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    Limited 19 backers
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    Pledge £10 or more About $13

    Digital Download of the Quarterly

    A digital download of our debut publication, The Second Shelf: A Quarterly, Issue 1, featuring highlights of our stock alongside original essays, fiction, poetry, and interviews with women writers.

    Includes:
    • Digital Download of The Second Shelf: A Quarterly, Issue 1
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    Limited 62 backers
    £
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    Pledge £15 or more About $20

    Print Copy of the Quarterly

    A print copy of our debut publication, The Second Shelf: A Quarterly, Issue 1, featuring highlights of our stock alongside original essays, fiction, poetry, and interviews with women writers.

    Includes:
    • The Second Shelf: A Quarterly, Issue 1
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    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Limited 159 backers
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    Pledge £30 or more About $40

    Tote + the Quarterly

    A "The Future of Books is Female" tote and a print copy of The Second Shelf: A Quarterly, Issue 1

    Includes:
    • Tote
    • The Second Shelf: A Quarterly, Issue 1
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    Limited 64 backers
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    Pledge £35 or more About $46

    Bookwoman T-Shirt + Quarterly

    A “Bookwoman” t-shirt and a print copy of The Second Shelf: A Quarterly, Issue 1

    Includes:
    • Bookwoman T-shirt
    • A Quarterly
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    20 backers
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    Pledge £40 or more About $53

    A Surprise First Edition + the Quarterly

    A surprise modern first edition by a woman writer in very good to fine collectible condition, and a print copy of The Second Shelf: A Quarterly, Issue 1.

    Includes:
    • The Second Shelf: A Quarterly, Issue 1
    • Surprise First Edition
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    Limited 78 backers
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  7. Select this reward

    Pledge £40 or more About $53

    Print of Zora Neale Hurston's House

    A limited edition silkscreened print of Zora Neale Hurston's House commissioned in 2010 from M+E, now owner's of Brooklyn's Books Are Magic bookstore by The Second Shelf proprietor, A. N. Devers, for her first passion project - a website dedicated to literary pilgrimage. One of eight authors' houses printed, many prints sold out, Hurston's humble home was not as popular at the time, but with the recent publication of her forgotten first book Barracoon, there's been an accompanying surge of interest in her work. (And a print copy of The Second Shelf: A Quarterly, Issue 1.)

    Includes:
    • Zora Neale Hurston Print
    • The Second Shelf: A Quarterly, Issue 1
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    Limited 14 backers
    £
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  8. Select this reward

    Pledge £50 or more About $66

    Annual subscription to The Second Shelf

    An annual print subscription (four issues) to The Second Shelf: A Quarterly of Rare Books and Words by Women, and a "Future of Books is Female" tote. Issue 1 to be sent in July, the following issues at 3 months intervals thereafter.

    Includes:
    • The Second Shelf: A Quarterly, Issue 1
    • Tote
    • Annual Subscription
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    Limited 60 backers
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    Pledge £50 or more About $66

    Bookwoman Tote + Subscription

    An annual print subscription (four issues) to The Second Shelf: A Quarterly of Rare Books and Words by Women, and a “Bookwoman” tote. Issue 1 to be sent in July, the following issues at 3 months intervals thereafter.

    Includes:
    • Bookwoman Tote
    • Annual Subscription
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    21 backers
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    Pledge £60 or more About $80

    A Surprise Signed First Edition

    A surprise signed modern first edition by an exceptional woman writer in very good condition and a print copy of The Second Shelf: A Quarterly, Issue 1.

    Includes:
    • Surprise First Edition
    • The Second Shelf: A Quarterly, Issue 1
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    Limited 18 backers
    £
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  11. Select this reward

    Pledge £75 or more About $99

    The Future of Books Summer Package

    You'll get a "Future of Books is Female" t-shirt, tote bag, and a print copy of The Second Shelf: A Quarterly, Issue 1.

    Includes:
    • The Second Shelf: A Quarterly, Issue 1
    • Tote
    • T-Shirt
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    Limited 10 backers
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    Pledge £85 or more About $113

    The Future of Books Winter Package

    You'll get a "Future of Books is Female" sweatshirt, tote, and a print copy of The Second Shelf: A Quarterly, Issue 1.

    Includes:
    • The Second Shelf: A Quarterly, Issue 1
    • Tote
    • Sweatshirt
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    Limited 3 backers
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    Pledge £100 or more About $133

    The Ariana Reines Subscription Pack

    A limited edition letterpress broadside of a poem by Ariana Reines. Titled "How to Wear It" this was commissioned exclusively for and by The Second Shelf, inspired by Sylvia Plath's skirt, which is featured in the debut quarterly, and will be printed by Hurst Street Press, who is also featured in the issue. The poem will also come with a one-year print subscription to the quarterly, a tote bag, and a poster.

    Includes:
    • Annual Subscription
    • Tote
    • Future of Books Poster
    • Ariana Reines Poem
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    Pledge £200 or more About $265

    Start Your First Edition Collection

    A surprise dozen 20th century novels in good to very good condition by exceptional women writers, a tote bag, and a print copy of The Second Shelf: A Quarterly, Issue 1.

    Includes:
    • A Dozen 20th Century Novels
    • The Second Shelf: A Quarterly, Issue 1
    • Tote
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    Limited 5 backers
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    Pledge £250 or more About $332

    Founding Member

    Become a founding member of The Second Shelf and receive an annual print subscription to the quarterly, a surprise first edition in the mail, a letterpressed broadside poem by Ariana Reines about Sylvia Plath's skirt, a tote bag, a poster, and have your name listed as a Founding Member on The Second Shelf's website and your name listed in the print publication for the lifespan of our business.

    Includes:
    • Annual Subscription
    • Surprise First Edition
    • Ariana Reines Poem
    • Future of Books Poster
    • Tote
    • Founding Member Listing
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    Reward no longer available 25 backers
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    Pledge £400 or more About $531

    Start Your Signed First Edition Library

    A surprize dozen of exceptional 20th-century novels signed by the author, very good condition to fine condition, a tote bag, and a print copy of The Second Shelf: A Quarterly, Issue 1.

    Includes:
    • Tote
    • The Second Shelf: A Quarterly, Issue 1
    • A Dozen 20th Century Novels—signed
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    Pledge £500 or more About $663

    Founding Corporate Member

    A Founding Corporate Member of The Second Shelf receives all the benefits of a founding member, as well as a small logo placement next to members name. (Subject to approval)

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    Pledge £5,000 or more About $6,632

    Build A Library

    The Second Shelf will build you a personal library of 200 modern first editions in very good to fine condition by women writers representing a range of exceptional 20-21st century writing.

    Includes:
    • 200 Modern First Editions
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    Pledge £6,000 or more About $7,959

    Sponsorship Back Page

    One-time sponsored ad page on The Second Shelf's back cover (subject to approval of content). Available for issues 2-4.

    Includes:
    • Sponsorship
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    Pledge £20,000 or more About $26,529

    A Singular Sense and Sensibility

    “Sense and Sensibility” by Jane Austen. London: Roworth and Egerton, 1813. Second edition, in three volumes. Half titles present. Contemporary calf spines over marbled boards, title and numbering to spine in gilt. All edges worn, gilt somewhat faded to spine. Internally spotted across all three volumes, pages only slightly warped. Blocks remain tightly bound, structurally confident. Bearing ownership to title pages.

    This beautiful edition of Sense and Sensibility belonged to Martha Lloyd, closest friend and confidant of Jane Austen. Martha Lloyd became friends with Jane Austen and her sister Cassandra when Martha's family lived at Deane Parsonage, from 1788 and “for the rest of their lives she was to be their most intimate friend.” [A Portrait of Jane Austen, Cecil, 1978]

    Jane Austen published anonymously during her lifetime, however early drafts of her novels, including “Pride and Prejudice” were dedicated to Martha, who was one of the few people privy to Jane's secret desire to write and helped her proofread her work. The friends also attended social events together, such as the Southampton Assembly Room Ball of 1808 of which Jane Austen wrote “Our Ball was rather more amusing than I expected, Martha liked it very much...It was the same room in which we danced 15 years ago!” [letter 9 December 1808]

    Martha lived with Jane and the Austen family between 1805 and 1817 until Jane died. Her domestic role in the household is evidenced in her recipe book from Chawton, now at the Jane Austen House Museum, which includes a recipe for writing ink. A decade after Jane’s death Martha married Jane’s brother Sir Francis Austen, at age 62 or 63, becoming Lady Austen.

    A wonderful association copy whose existence helps document the strong bonds of friendship between two exceptional women.

    Includes:
    • Founding Member Listing
    • A Singular Sense & Sensibility
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Funding period

- (30 days)