Pride and Prejudice: Limited in Letterpress

A letterpress-printed edition of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice in 3 volumes, 138 copies.

Last Day Update

Thank you, everyone, for your support of this immense project!

I want to tell all of our funders not to be disappointed. It may appear that we have not crossed the halfway mark, but in actuality we have. In fact, we are fully funded!

It was difficult to project figures for this campaign since we knew that in addition to the online contributions, we would also have significant figures for people reserving books directly with the Press. These off-line funders include our small core of subscribers – the folks who collect all work to come out of the Press – and others whom are fairly regular buyers. Some prefer to send a cheque in the mail, and others wanted to use the volume-by-volume option to reserve the books (something we were not able to offer through online campaign).

So, what are the numbers?

Monies already received from off-line buyers (money already in the bank) has surpassed $8,000, with a further $5,500 committed for the balance of their purchases. New orders have been coming in, even as recent as an hour ago, adding another $2,700.

The cash figure (on and offline) is $17,115.
With the balance of orders, that total jumps to $22,715.
With the new, yet unsecured orders, our figure climbs to $25,415.

(As I write this, contributions continue to flow in.)

What this means is that we have enough funds in hand to buy our most needed materials (paper, new type and engraving blocks) and funds will continue to flow in, to cover the binding materials further on.

We shall continue to post updates as the project continues. Thank you everyone for helping to make it happen.

The Pitch

It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man, in possession of a good printing press, must be in want of a project.

Indeed, we want this monumental project: to produce 138 copies of Pride and Prejudice, in 3 volumes.

The text will be hand-set in metal type, printed letterpress on archival paper, illustrated with at least a dozen original wood-engravings in each volume, hand-bound in fine materials, and be a treasure to read.

No private press has undertaken such a small edition of this novel. Hardly a private press today will undertake a work of such length, and choose to hand-set it. So why do we? We love Jane. Moreso, we love Pride and Prejudice. And we know others do too. Favourite stories are treasures. We like to design them that way.

The project, however, leaves us gobsmacked when we consider the quantity of materials needed, and needed altogether, and the costs therein. Although we are breaking it up into 3 volumes, as it was originally published, all the materials must be purchased together, so that everything will match when the books are put together on (your) shelf at the conclusion of the project.

Who we are

Jarrett Morrison founded The Bowler Press in 2007 after learning to mind his p's and q's from his mentors, Jan and Crispin Elsted, of Barbarian Press. His wife describes him as a nineteenth-century technogeek. Creating books marries his love of literature with his love of design. He resides in Vancouver with his wife and two young daughters.

Alanna Simenson, of the Mad Hatter Bookbinding Co., est.2011, embarked on a career in hand-binding 12 years ago, and has not looked back. Her many credits include the standard edition of Pericles by Barbarian Press. Currently, in addition to operating Mad Hatter, she works with 3rd-generation bookbinder, Richard Smart of the Olde English Bindery. She lives with two cats and a good many books.

So what exactly will the books look like?

The text will be set in Fournier typeface, with the accompanying italic. It will be cast from English Monotype matrices at the Bixler Letterfoundry in Skaneateles, NY. Bixler will cast enough to cover the first 18-24 pages, and then we distribute and reset the type for the remainder of the book, refreshing the type as needed.

It will be printed letterpress on Zerkall mould made, 100gsm paper, which has a vellum texture with excellent drape and suppleness, and a pleasing natural white tone.

The illustrations, by Jarrett Morrison, will be engraved on the endgrain of boxwood blocks and printed in relief. Each book will feature several full-page, half-page and spot illustrations, including a multi-colour frontispiece.

Presswork will be performed on a century-old, treadle-driven Chandler and Price jobbing press. Her name is Beryl.

There will be two forms of binding presentation: The standard (114 numbered copies) will be quarter-bound in dark green Japanese Asahi bookcloth with off-set printed patterned paper over boards, and slipcased. The deluxe (24 lettered copies) will be bound in full leather book-calf, tooled in gold-leaf, boxed in half-leather with a suite of prints. Octavo (approx 6x9 inches).

Upon completion the sets will list at $1500CAD for the standard, $3500CAD for the deluxe.

How long will it take?

The forecast calls for 12-16 months for each volume.

What materials do you need to buy?

First and foremost, paper, and a lot of it, approximately 5600 sheets of paper. Also, metal type, illustration blocks, book leather, a bolt of silk bookcloth, goldleaf, board for making cases and slipcases, bookbinding sundries.

What will you do with the excess funding?

The goal amount covers the cost of materials so that the project can begin. With the goal funding, we can continue on our planned production where we spend three days per week devoted to the project, while we continue to perform other work to ensure our daily needs. Excess funding will allow us to focus our efforts more exclusively to the P&P project. The more support we receive at the beginning, the sooner the project can be completed.

If there is a significant amount raised beyond our funding goal, a companion book, which would include an essay, or several, may be possible.

Why IndieGoGo?

One of the key reasons we wanted to fund the Pride and Prejudice project in this way was to enable as many people as possible to feel connected to it, so that they will feel that they have been a part of the project. It is such a beloved work of literature. Fans are invested in the characters. We wanted to reward the people who help us along the way.

Other Ways You Can Help

Share the news about this edition of Pride and Prejudice with your friends, with your Jane Austen society or book club. Post it, tweet it, whisper it around in the library. IndieGoGo has some great sharing tools to help.

Notes on Perks

IndieGoGo operates in US funds. All perks ship from Canada. Postage has been included in reward level amounts, with the exception of international backers outside of Canada and the USA. International backers should increase their pledge by the amount noted in the perk descriptions. Any customs fees for importing perks are the responsibility of the backer.

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