Book fetishism for 'real books' (vs kindle) October 23 2013

 
Award-winning book designer Anna Egan-Reid's cover design for the book, with gold-foil embossing 
(It's not yet been trimmed, or assembled onto hardback with its black fabric quarter-bound spine,
but it's already beginning to look beautiful with the deep Phoenician purple, gold & plum band.)
 
I had an interesting twitter exchange yesterday with one Dominatrix, who on hearing news on more of the book's content, tweets:

Aaarrrghhhhh. Stop teasing. So wanna read this book. Can't wait for the delivery :o)

The book is presently 'on schedule', and expected to be complete in some 3 weeks. For those who have pre-ordered, they should happily receive their book before Christmas. And the kindle version should also be out very soon. To which she tweets:

Kindle is ok but there is nothing like the feel & smell of a new book :o)

I couldn't agree more! Sigh. One of the points I preface in 'The History & Arts of the Dominatrix' book, is how my experience of travelling from a nearby dungeon to the British Library Rare Books rooms, emphasized for me the fetish qualities of their volumes of 'forbidden books'. 

(books) "..similarly kept underground, precious, material in their qualities, leafed touched and treasured."

I became something of a book fetishist, converted to the religion practised in the book temple which is the British Library. There is something about a beautiful book, just as Miss Deviant notes, its feel and smell, which is very special. In the publishing of this book, the idea of 'book fetish' has been thoroughly indulged. With gold foil embossed lettering on this deep Phoenician purple. (The term 'Phoenician' comes from the name of the ancient sea traders in purple made from crushed murex shells, the most expensive colour used to make clothing of royalty.) A black quarter-bound buckram spine for binding. The decorative flourishes of head and tail bands in burgandy, which are the little woven pieces at the top and bottom of the spine, which originate from a tradition established to stop bugs and dust getting in the animal glue spine, but have become a beautiful feature of a book's materiality and construction. A scarlet red ribbon marker to use as a place holder and bookmark, and rich black end papers encasing the fleshy white interior with full-colour illustrations. 
In the age of kindle, we are offered almost instant access, and immediate gratification. No longer do we have to order a book and wait for it to arrive. At the press of a button, we have it on screen in front of us, and cheaper than the physical product. It doesn't take up any room in our house. It's easily transported with us, on the tube, away on holiday. The kindle devices fits in a large pocket or compartment of a handbag. It certainly has its advantages, providing us access and portability, BUT it loses something special compared to the 'real book'. As Anna wrote to me: "Keep in mind that the ebook won't look anything like the printed version. Ebook technology is very limited at the moment, so fonts will change, the margins won't be as generous and there is less control around where the images are placed. Unfortunately the files have to remain quite basic to cater for the fact that ebooks can be read on many different devices and the reader can control font size etc. A sad reality that I have to deal with as a designer!"
If you're comparing the kindle to the book from an aesthetic (and fetish) perspective, the 'real book' wins hands down. Particularly in this instance, when the book craft qualities have been so lavishly indulged to produce a special volume of such beauty. I admire also the traits of 'Folio Society Books', who similarly take pride in the book craft, often with buckram binding, to create books that you want to treasure.
This book was always intended to be important for libraries (and already touted as the 'seminal' work on the subject of the Dominatrix's history and craft). With all its artwork illustrations, from the ancient world and archaeology, from historical prints and paintings, from vintage photographs, it very much a collector's format. It also considered the bookcases, bedside and coffee tables of those who purchased it.
Some people will want the instant kindle download, for its portability, discretion, immediacy of download once available. But for those who love 'real books', then the limited first edition book will be most delicious and satisfying.