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Top 10 Gifts for Bookworms: Books, Zines & Comics from Sarah Nicholls of the Center for Book Arts handmade and vintage goods

In our increasingly digital lives, handmade books remind us to appreciate the tactile beauty of an interesting binding or the unique linework of the artist, or if it’s a blank journal, that we have such a thing as handwriting (whether messy or neat)! Books, zines, and comics  make great holiday gifts, and so we invited Sarah Nicholls, of the Center for Book Arts, to contribute her Top 10 List.

Do not underestimate the book. Books have been the traditional container for the knowledge and ideas of a culture for centuries. The more the book speeds towards obsolescence, the more options there are for people interested in making them. The Center for Book Arts in New York presents a rotating series of exhibitions of contemporary art related to the book, in the middle of a working hand bindery and letterpress printshop. Running the studio programs here at the Center grounds me in both the history and the future of the book, and lets me work with an amazing range of artists, writers, craftspeople, and performers, all of whom want to make books.

You can find your own cross-section of the wide world of bookmaking at Etsy: one-of-a- kind journals, artist’s books, zines, comics, and more. Here are some of my favorites:

1. statisticalzine.jpgThe Statistical Analysis of Things that Happen but Don’t Matter

A reassuring zine by funiscool, $4. Find zines on Etsy.


2. artbureau.jpgArt Bureau 16

A collaborative zine by artbureau and various artists, it includes signed gocco prints, cartoons, stickers and other goodies, $16. Find comics on Etsy.


3. rentboardgame.jpgFor Rent, Handmade Boardgame

A collector’s item and amazing work of fun, functional art by veronicapress, $600. Find more books inspired by games.


4. vivisection.jpgVivisection & Taxes Small Sketchbook with Recycled Ephemera

Notebook or sketchbook with salvaged science cover by kateblack, $36. Find more coptic bound books. Find more journals.


5. kerbloom.jpgKerbloom Letterpress Zine

Pittsburgh craftsmanship by artnoose, $3. Find more letterpress books.


6. readersdiary.jpgReader’s Diary

For the bookish friends in your life, a way to keep track of what they’re reading, by greenchairpress, $10. Find more diaries.


7. mumscloset.jpgMum’s Closet

Limited edition book featuring the author goosedownpress‘ mum and her 1970s outfits. Perfect as a gift for a stylish sister. $75. Find more autobio books or nonfiction books.


8. lapommestories.jpgPale Berries Pocket Fairy tale #4

Embroidered one of a kind book, $37. Find more books made with fabric.


9. sleepingforest.jpgMama and Child Handmade Book

Baby album with sustainably harvested wood cover by SleepingForest, $175. Find more items with a secret Belgian binding or albums.


10. librarybook.jpgLibrary Book

Handbound, blank sketch book/journal by rookery, $35. Find more books with tabs.cba1.jpg

Contemporary bookmakers come in an infinite variety of flavors, and
have an almost limitless number of options available to them. Binders
create contemporary adaptations of historical book structures;
experiment with materials both traditional and non: leather, felt,
handmade paper, rubber, wood, etc.; recycle the insides and outsides of
books, and create tactile book sculptures. Artists, writers, and
zinemakers can reach an audience in a portable accessible format with
the book, combine digital design with hand-bound elements, play with
time and pace in a comic, and expand their community by starting a
press. Books whisper in the ear of a captive audience of one.

Be sure to check out the Center for Book Arts‘ website. Thank you Sarah!

Watch this video about theblackspotbooks’ handbound books.

Etsy Labs is offering a bookbinding class on December 17, 2008. If you’re in the New York area and would like to attend, buy your slot here.

Books & Zines Category | More Posts about Books | Bookworms & Writers Gift Guide