Charles Richardson discusses the state of book-making in the United States in the article “Book-making in America.” He starts of by saying that more people started to read more and that newspaper audiences increase so do the number of people who read books. Even though there was increase in readership, he says that the quality of new books decreased. He compared the paper, construction, and printing of book in America, Germany, and France.
This article was important to our class since a broad focus in our class was to learn about and appreciate the art of making a book. Making a book is much more than writing a compelling and original story. Many people think that the main labor of a book belongs to the author. However printing pages and binding a book takes a manuscript from being a concept to a marketable book. People may not usually consider all the work that went into the creation of a book. The type of paper, print, clothe that creates the front and back cover of books all play a role in the feel of a book.
Richardson noticed that the books being printed after the Civil War, were not as ornate or beautiful as previous books. A comparison can be made to today. Many books are offered in soft covered and hard covered editions at bookstores and on the internet. Today’s books are also available in a digital format. As Richardson stated, books became more popular but the process was made more efficient. As with most things quick efficient processes create a large number of products but each individual product is of a lesser quality. Mass produced books served to be read by many. Books that were handcrafted were considered pieces of art and collected as heirlooms. Books printed in small numbers were more expensive and highly decorated.