Declaration of Principles

Over at Labora Editions:

I have loved books all my life. I take a romantic view of them, as one inevitably does with the things one loves, and my approach to publishing is colored by that view. Tuscany’s Peter Mongeau comes from a business background and rightly talks about the publishing market and “barriers to entry” and “distribution channels.” My background is in studio art, (ceramics, specifically) and I bring my ideas of form, function, the mark of the hand, and the importance of craft to my process of making books.

The other publishers featured in this post are, so far as I can tell, producing books according to the current standard practices of book manufacture, and that is perfectly fine. I was happy to pay for all of the aforementioned purchases; I can’t wait to get my hands on them, to have a chance to sit still and read. But the standard practice is not what appeals to me as a craftsman. The book is a kind of vessel, and I am as interested in the thing itself as in what goes between the covers. The content, of course, must “dazzle gradually,” so to speak, but my parallel aspiration is to create an attractive, durable vessel.

I think of it as craft publishing. Recently, in an email to Matthew Lickona I described the idea thus: “Like a microbrewery, except with books.”


  1. Ryan Charles Foster Kane says

    I wrote that blog post by gaslight.

    • Angelico Nguyen, Esq., OP says

      And (presumably) coded it by hand on your special stock of vegetable-vellum Hollerith punch-cards with an antique ivory punch-card awl. This is how we do.

      Love the brewing analogy. And the fact that Labora Press’s first book is a very special edition of the first Korrektiv Press title by San Diego County’s Matthew Lickona brings to mind a certain something else from San Diego County.

      And congrats on making New Advent and the Dappled Feed!

  2. ” The whole thing seems, to the outsider, like an edifice of inside joke built atop inside joke, reaching to the heavens, held together by a 50/50 mortar of philosophy and theology (with pop-culture for color.)”

    Heh. I always think of this is as the impenetrable opacity of this blog to the uninitiated.


  3. Southern Expat says

    It makes me so happy when my friends become each other’s friends.

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