"Hungry man, reach for the book: It is a weapon"

Bertolt Brecht (Note from Amit: I cannot attribute the quote to a larger essay but it has been used in pamphlets and leaflets all over the world.)

“I don’t possess a singular skill. I don’t know Greek or Latin. I don’t know Calculus. Or Mandarin. I don’t know how to play a musical instrument. But wait... I do know how to make a book. I mean EXACTLY how to do it. From soup to nuts as they say. From the time the trees are harvested for timber and rolled into paper mills to when the physical covered-and-bound book is in a bookstore, on a bedside table, or in a raggedy cardboard box on a sidewalk being hawked for a few bucks. It’s not a great skill; thousands command it too.

Books have been my unassailable shelter for as long as I can remember. And it is of no surprise to me that when I was lurching, fumbling toward a “career,” I rushed to encircle and embrace books, first through working jauntily in bookstores and then exerting myself in publishing houses - both mammoth and diminutive.

Picas, points, leading, hot type (yes, I’m that old), linotype, galleys, repros, blues, silhouette, dropout, vignette, castoffs, mechanicals, bleeds, dummies, endpapers, forms, f & gs, tape-and-knife fold binding, buckle-fold binding, case binding, wire stitching, sewing, headbands, running heads, widows, character counts, running feet, NASTA standards, copyfitting, colophons... are my relatives, my friends, my family. Some now have been confined to publishing’s equivalent of wheelchairs and the morgue, supplanted by the spry and chipper digital generation of the current industry that reflects the new family. The new relatives such as adaptive design, aggregated content. Alt text, alias, anchor text, CMS, dpi, integrated flipbook, and the already aging FTP are still my kinfolk.

I cling to the physical paper book closer than a survivor on the Titanic to a life vest. For centuries, its form and function have remained the same. How incredible is that?

It’s little wonder to me that I think nowadays about self-publishing, derisively called “vanity publishing” (as with this volume), and not wait to be plucked by the publishing princes or princesses with the crystal glass slipper. I write because it gives me pleasure. It helps me think about ordinary things in a different way. It’s selfish. It’s perhaps vain. It serves no greater good than to say to you, the reader, here’s a sliver of what I think is the best of myself. ”

(from “Register for Silence: Variant Modalities”)


Available in the U.S. direct from amit@greencomma.net via Venmo, CashApp, PayPal or personal check. $6.50 (includes shipping).

Kindle available on Amazon site in US.

Indian outlets listed below.

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