At a recent publishing conference I attended, participants were asked to discuss their plans to move to an all-digital (as opposed to digital first) world. I was pleased to hear a consensus that print remains both viable and a desirable medium for our customers, particularly for the intense and in-depth reading required by scholarly publications. In the age of the disposable, when content is devalued and publishing fast is more important than publishing well, it’s a joy to take a moment’s rest, to step back and appreciate the physical object of the book.

David Crotty

David Crotty

David Crotty is a Senior Consultant at Clarke & Esposito, a boutique management consulting firm focused on strategic issues related to professional and academic publishing and information services. Previously, David was the Editorial Director, Journals Policy for Oxford University Press. He oversaw journal policy across OUP’s journals program, drove technological innovation, and served as an information officer. David acquired and managed a suite of research society-owned journals with OUP, and before that was the Executive Editor for Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press, where he created and edited new science books and journals, along with serving as a journal Editor-in-Chief. He has served on the Board of Directors for the STM Association, the Society for Scholarly Publishing and CHOR, Inc., as well as The AAP-PSP Executive Council. David received his PhD in Genetics from Columbia University and did developmental neuroscience research at Caltech before moving from the bench to publishing.


6 Thoughts on "The Art of Making a Book"

I appreciate David’s comment and strongly agree. Depending on the content and genre there will be still a demand for a physical book. In my private bookshelf are thousands of books – however I bought not a single printed copy this year but more than a dozen e-books myself.
Unfortunately, the attached video says me that it “is not available” – a copyright issue? ((that’s why I love CC-BY, too 😉 ))

I had the pleasure of working at Princeton University Press for 22 years when it still had its own printing plant and so was able to be exposed to the art of bookmaking directly. PUP was the last US press to operate its own plant; Toronto still does. Of course, our plant, while it used hot-metal composition and flatbed presses for printing, did not offer books bound in leather over boards! As a rare book collector, however, I do have plenty of specimens of the bookbinding art as well, including an incunabulum (1483) that is bound in vellum.

Is the music in the background not “Softly, I will leave you?”

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