Birth of a Book

Birth of a Book: a tour of Smith Settle’s handmade bookbinding process

Watch Smith Settle bookbinders bring a hardback book to life.

Beautiful poetry of an amazing art. A film by Glen Milner

How many of us pause to wonder, when we hold a beautiful book in our hands, about the work that went into making it?

In the case of a Slightly Foxed edition – elegant pocket-sized clothbound books that are limited to 2000 copies and cost £15 – it’s hard NOT to consider this. Who chose the lovely coloured linen and contrasting endpapers, you ask yourself? Who blind-stamped the reading fox on the front, or gilded the book’s author and title onto the spine?

For this mesmerizing exclusive video, Glen Milner visited Smith Settle bookbinders near Leeds, where the owners, Don Walters and Tracey Thorne, allowed him to film the making of the 17th Slightly Foxed book, Suzanne St Albans’s memoir Mango and Mimosa, from start to finish.

Here, you’ll get a behind-the-scenes look at the printing plates, the stitching of the “signatures” (folded sections), the pressing and gluing, the adding of the ribbon bookmark and head and tail bands, the making of the final hardcover in green linen cloth and the numbering of the copies. All of it done with great care, much of it by hand.

Slightly Foxed is paradoxically innovative and old-school. While most books are now printed and bound overseas, their choice to collaborate with Smith Settle, traditional British binders who have made elaborate editions for the Folio Society among others, has meant that instead of struggling to keep up with the digital revolution, this small press is making a profit.

I’m so glad to share this with you from the London Telegraph. Books are a very important and vital part of my life. As much as I appreciate and am enamored by the electronic press and technology, I sincerely hope this art form never dies. Our world would truly be a lesser place without these miracles.

S.J. Johnson

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Facebook Micro-Story Writing Game

Click here for all the details:

The-Micro-Story-Writing-Game

I get so excited about hosting these games. They are so much fun, even if you just read the submissions, it gets hilarious!

Coming soon:

I just endured a four day long editing marathon to finish up the final touches on my newest novel, ‘the drive’. It gets submitted today. Well, as soon as my cup of morning coffee and I build up the courage to click the ‘send’ button, anyway.

I am really excited about this book, it has turned out to be something much better than I anticipated. Seriously. If all goes well, it should be available online by December 5th and everywhere else by December 16th.

I appreciate your patience with me, in my pursuit of this project I realize I have completely neglected posting on Facebook and my blogs. I will try to be much better about that in the future.

Thank you

S.J. Johnson

‘The Drive’  by S.J. Johnson @ Amazon.com

About the author

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I am a Novelist, Writer, Playwright, all ’round keyboard tapper extraordinaire`.
Mostly I just love to read and write.
Although I am well known for my “Family Saga” novels, my real passion is “Horror Fiction”.  But then again, they’re actually the same thing I suppose.
I would like to sincerely thank you, for taking the time to read through a piece of my work, this newest story is quickly becoming one of my favorites. I am a published author currently looking for new literary Representation for mainstream commercial publication. I have been writing since 1984, with a strong passion for horror fiction and family saga.
I have written numerous work for magazines, instruction manuals, brochures and periodical publications as well as for other extremely busy bloggers but I would prefer to utilize my talents as a horror fiction novelist.
I have several finished novels, some that are published, “PAGES”, “GIFTS OF DEVOTION”, “SUMMER GARDEN”, “CASE FILE 13″, and “THE FAVOR” and are now available through Amazon Kindle publications. I also have many other books that I would love to see in publication as well, and many more that are currently in the progress of being completed.
I have posted a sample of my work in this blog for your reading pleasure. So, read my work, feedback to your hearts content and if you like what I offer then tell a friend and spread the word!