Mars Bound

For @ryanruppe‘s annual December sci-fi book club, this year called @decembarsoom, I (Drew) decided to eschew the used book stores in favor of a little excursion into the world of bookbinding.

My Self-Bound Copy of Edgar Rice Burroughs' "A Princess of Mars"

Since this year’s book is so old as to be in the public domain, I downloaded a scan of the full text from Google Books. It is taken from a Harvard University Library copy of the book, apparently acquired by Harvard College Library in 1940 after being published in 1917. Most of the pages are very legible, but a few lines have been nearly obliterated somehow during this book’s long and remarkable journey into my hands. The evidence of its passage through the digital realm comes in the form of a ‘digitized by Google’ watermark on the bottom of each page.

To create my copy, I scanned page-by-page through the pdf that I had downloaded, noting which pages I wanted to omit (blanks and appended advertisements). Making a list of the page ranges I wanted to print, I counted them with more difficulty than I anticipated. I then divided them into five equally-sized sections and printed each in “booklet” format on a large business-type printer. I was very glad for this printer functionality, since each sheet of paper ends up with four non-consecutive pages printed on it. (They might be, for example, pages 92/135 on one side, and 93/134 on the other.) The printer took care of all the arranging so that each of the five sections, when folded all together in half, read through a fifth of the book, in order.

For the cover, I cut an appropriately sized rectangle from a scrap of leather that one of my brother’s coworkers gave me. (Steve Lubbe, who apparently does the leather work for Valiant Armoury) The binding is very plain and simple; anyone who really knows what they’re doing would be able to tell you lots of things to do to make it look more finished and professional. I decided that since I’m a beginner (and I wanted to start reading!) I would do the bare minimum to obtain a usable book. It’s clearly handmade, but quite functional and easy on the eyes. I intentionally left the edges a little jagged, for an even more homemade feel. I’m pleased with the overall result.

From this point on, I will let Mel’s photos speak for themselves. Enjoy!

The Necessary Supplies (Minus the Needle and Thread)

Marking the Holes on the Cover

Drilling One Section

So Many Holes!

Sewing in the Second Section

Sometimes it's Difficult to Find the Hole...

Finishing up the Second Section

Finishing the Last Section



One comment

  1. Pingback: I am…JOHN CARTER! « drewanie

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