Archive for the ‘Gaspereau Press’ Category

Gapereau Press’s Andrew Steeves discusses how to market—and how not to market—chapbooks and literary works

Thursday, February 16th, 2012

FPBA member Andrew Steeves, Publisher of Gaspereau Press and designer of the North American issues of Parenthesis, discusses how to best to market literary chapbooks with Nigel Beale at The Literary Tourist. How should it be done? Here’s a clue: don’t consider chapbooks as a consumer good like soap flakes or potato chips: “Literature and culture are about human relationships, and so it follows that finding ways to foster direct and authentic encounters between a writer and an audience is the best way to promote a book.”

Listen to Nigel Beale’s conversation with Andrew Steeves here.

— Paul Razzell

Alcuin Society awards for best-looking limited-edition books of 2010

Tuesday, March 29th, 2011

It’s always exciting to see the winners of the annual Alcuin Society Awards for Excellence in Book Design in Canada — especially when FPBA members appear in the top of the list. This year, Crispin Elsted of Barbarian Press and Jason Dewinetz appear three times in the Limited Editions category. And Andrew Steeves of fine press/trade hybrid Gaspereau Press, who also designs the North American issues of Parenthesis, appears four times in various categories. Nice work, gentlemen!

Each year, the Alcuin Society gives award for the best book designs in the the following categories: childrens’, limited editions, pictorial, poetry, prose non-fiction, prose fiction, and reference; the jury changes from year to year. This time round, the entries were judged by Alan Brownoff, Dr. Shelley Gruendler, and CS Richardson. Here’s a few photos of the judges at work. This year there wee 37 winning titles from 217 entries, from 9 provinces and 96 publishers.

In the Limited Edition Category, the winners are:

First prize: CRISPIN ELSTED, designer of The Play of Pericles, Prince of Tyre … by William Shakespeare, edited with commentary by Crispin Elsted; illustrated by Simon Brett (Barbarian Press).

Second prize (tie): JASON DEWINETZ, designer of Alphabetum Romanum: the Letterforms of Felice Feliciano, c.1460 (Greenboathouse Press).

Second prize (tie): LINDA GUSTAFSON, designer of Words Have No Meaning, edited by Zengetsu Myokyo (Enpuku-ji Press).

Third prize (tie): RAPHAËL DAUDELIN, designer of L’Absent by Fernand Ouellette, illustrated by Christian Gardair (les éditions du passage).
Third prize (tie): JASON DEWINETZ, designer of Light & Char by Jake Kennedy (Greenboathouse Press).

The full list of award winners in all categories can be seen here.

— Paul Razzell

Gaspereau Press Sells Trade Rights of The Sentimentalists to Douglas & McIntyre

Monday, November 15th, 2010

A follow-up to our recent post about a Gaspereau Press title taking Canada’s most prestigious literary award:

I was wondering when I’d be able to lay my hands on a copy of  Johanna Skribsbud’s debut novel — and Giller Prize winner – The Sentimentalists: the answer is sooner rather than later. The Sentimentalists is published by trade/fine press hybrid Gaspeareau Press, whose commitment to high standards of book production mean they can produce only 1000 copies per week; and at this rate, I expected I’d have to wait weeks (months?) for my order to be filled.  The demand for Skribsruds’ novel spiked sharply after winning the Giller Prize last Monday, and 30,000 are needed to meet the immediate demand. Trade rights are now in the hands of Canadian publisher Douglas & McIntyre who will bring the novel out in a trade format that is different than the Gaspereau edition (no letterpress covers, for one) but “while still honouring Gaspereau’s craft.”

Gaspereau will continue to produce it’s own edition of the novel (letterpress jackets, guts printed on their ‘house’ paper (Rolland’s Zephyr Antique Laid), sewn bindings) alongside the trade edition.

The question is, which edition will you buy?

Read the Gaspereau press release:


Responding to the high demand of Johanna Skibsrud’s The Sentimentalists, Gaspereau Press licenses Canadian trade paperback rights to Douglas & McIntyre, an imprint of D&M Publishers, who plan to ship stock by November 19

November 14, 2010 – VANCOUVER, CANADA —  Before Scott McIntyre’s head hit the pillow Tuesday night following the Giller gala, he sent a long email to his friend and colleague Andrew Steeves, co-publisher of Gaspereau Press, reporting on the extraordinary evening.  McIntyre and Steeves immediately hatched a plan to make Johanna Skibsrud’s debut novel widely available to the Canadian book trade, while still honouring Gaspereau’s craft.

Andrew Steeves commented:

“It was important to us that no copy of the book would say ‘Gaspereau Press’ on the spine unless it came directly from our own hands; that’s simply the way we work.  But when Johanna won the prize it was clear that our method of printing and publishing books wouldn’t meet the demand.  It was critical to find a partner who shared our values. Douglas & McIntyre was the obvious choice.

“We’re delighted to be working with Douglas & McIntyre and Friesens to produce a new edition of The Sentimentalists for the wider marketplace. This alliance will ensure that our author’s accomplishment will be honoured, and that readers across the country will have ready access to well-made copies of the book.”

The first 30,000 copies of the Douglas & McIntyre edition of The Sentimentalists (ISBN 978-1-55365-895-5, $19.95, paperback),  printed on high quality FSC eco-paper,  will be shipped from the bindery on November 19, less than 10 days after the Giller was awarded.  Paper is on hand for an immediate reprint of 20,000 copies. The e-book is already a bestseller on Kobo and Douglas & McIntyre will make it available through other e-book retailers, including the Apple iBookstore, Amazon Kindle, Sony eBook store, and Barnes & Noble’s NOOK Store. Gaspereau Press will continue to issue copies of its original edition ($27.95, 978-1-55447-078-5, sewn paperback with letterpress-printed jacket), giving readers a choice of two quality editions of the book.

McIntyre added:

“I have huge respect for Andrew and Gary’s dedication to their craft.  This includes putting their author first.   With our sales, marketing and distribution system onside, an exceptional novel will quickly reach the wide audience it deserves.

“Three proudly independent Canadian entities – Gaspereau Press in Nova Scotia; Douglas & McIntyre in Vancouver and Toronto; and Friesens in Manitoba – have combined forces to celebrate a remarkable writer, a wise and beautiful novel, and the gift Jack Rabinovich gave Canada when he launched the Giller Prize and dared us all to elevate our game.”


— Paul Razzell

Gaspereau Press Title Takes The Giller Prize!

Wednesday, November 10th, 2010

Giller prize winner Johanna Skibsrud (middle), author of 'The Sentimentalists', receives a hug from her sister Kristin Skipsrud Ross (R) and friend Rebecca Silver Slayter (behind) during Scotiabank Giller Prize ceremony in Toronto, Ontario, Tuesday, November 9, 2010. (National Post photo.)

Very good news, everyone: The Giller Prize, Canada’s top literary prize, has just been awarded to Johanna Skribsrud for her debut novel, The Sentimentalists, published by Gaspereau Press — the very press who designs and prints the North American issues of Parenthesis. The prize was announced in Toronto late on November 9th, 2010.

In the weeks since the Giller finalists were announced, the Canadian literary establishment has found it difficult to make out what Gaspereau Press — a hybrid trade and fine press — is really all about.

The Globe and Mail ran this story about Gaspereau’s commitment to making The Sentimentalists their way: letterpress jackets, guts printed on their ‘house’ paper (Rolland’s Zephyr Antique Laid), sewn bindings, etc. — in spite of a large trade publisher’s offer to mass-produce more copies for them. In this article, Gaspereau’s co-publisher Andrew Steeves explains the philosophical underpinnings of his approach to making books in this way, and eloquently defends his decision not to mass produce — even in light of the spike in demand for copies of this book that he could not immediately meet.

Andrew Steeves at Gaspereau Press. (Globe and Mail photo.)

Hours before the Giller was awarded, The National Post described the “clash of cultures” that takes place when a small literary press is nominated for a prize dominated by the big publishing houses:

“This [approach to publishing] may seem like willful eccentricity on the part of Andrew Steeves and Gary Dunfield, Gaspereau’s co-publishers. It’s actually something much more interesting: a commitment to a thoughtful, rigorous, refined mode of publishing. While publishing is usually discussed as a business, or an industry, all of the finest small press publishers practice it as an art form. The books that they choose to publish aren’t chosen to fill out a season with a handful of products that stand a reasonable chance of selling. Their lists are cultural projects, embodying a few individuals’ ideas of what literature can be. Biblioasis’ loose collective of editors, all of them excellent writers and notorious contrarians, are heterogeneous in their tastes but share a commitment to rabble-rousing and literary excellence. Gaspereau, and the handful of other companies that operate in a similar way, take this conceit to its logical extreme: both the process through which their books are made, and the physical objects that result, are inextricable from their editorial objectives.”

And that is why the Fine Press Book Association hires Gasperau to design and print the North American issues of Parenthesis year after year!

Now it’s time for some video. Here’s Andrew Steeves printing letterpress jackets for The Sentimentalists late into the night.

And here’s the book blocks being sewn on a Sulby binder.

Contratulations, Gaspereau!

— Paul Razzell

FPBA members: one of these prints will be yours!

Wednesday, August 18th, 2010

Parenthesis 19: nearly there!

Most copies of Parenthesis 19 have been bound and, as promised, an original silkscreen print (produced by Tara Books of India) has been hand-inserted into each copy. If you are a member of the FPBA, one of these prints will be yours. Become a member now.

In the photo below, Canadian novelist Susan Bailey stopped by Gaspereau Press and helped fold jackets. Note the mountain of untrimmed copies of the journal behind her. Susan appears to be saying, “How many more do I have to fold?!” Copies of the latest issue will be mailed out to members very soon.

Photos from the Gaspereau Press blog.

— Paul Razzell

Parenthesis 19 jackets coming off the press …

Tuesday, August 10th, 2010

We’re lucky our printer (and designer), Andrew Steeves, had his camera on hand while he was printing the jackets for Parenthesis 19. Andrew writes:

Today, I started printing the final colour on the jackets for Parenthesis. I mixed this blue by eye using mix of yellow, rubine red, reflex blue, and transparent white. I usually ignore colour matching systems like Pantone® when I’m mixing inks for my own letterpress jobs. I neither need nor desire perfectly matched colour. I don’t want to be able to reproduce this again, exactly the same, six months from now. A letterpress printer never dips his pallet knife in the same ink twice, Heraclitus might have said.

I’m still chained to my press today, cranking out Parenthesis covers. Hand-cranking 1200 sheets of paper through a Vandercook, watching the same inked form flash by over and over, gives you time to think about things. If there are problems with the job which are beyond your control to repair, it makes for a long and depressing run, knowing that what you are making falls short of your intentions. But if the work is sound and the press is running well, there is joy and fresh discovery to be found in each sheet through the press.

Although I had originally intended to print the body text in black, the decision to run the text in a separate pass from the ornaments (which required massive amounts of ink) opened up the opportunity to introduce a third colour. I’ve selected Warm Grey no. 4. This flexibility, this ability to alter a design to suit what occurs on the press, is one of the reasons that I like printing the things I design personally. This is not to say that you shouldn’t plan a job carefully, only that you should be attentive and responsive to opportunities and challenges as they present themselves.

Photos: Parenthesis 19 cover on the press

Thursday, August 5th, 2010

More photos from the Gaspereau Press blog showing Parenthesis 19 in production. The letterpress-printed jacket will feature Gaspereau’s proprietary Memorial Hall ornaments, shown here in photopolymer. you can see a few more sneak-peek pictures here and here.

Parenthesis is the journal of the Fine Press Book Association and deals broadly in fine and private press printing as well as bookbinding, typography, collecting, publishing and related areas. Richly illustrated in full color, it is published twice a year and is available free to FPBA members. The coming issue will be larger-than-normal, has a special focus on fine printing in California, and will include a loosely inserted limited-edition print from Tara Books in India. FPBA members whose dues are paid up will receive their copy toward the end of September. If you have been thinking about joining the FPBA, now would be a great time to do so. Membership in the FPBA is surprisingly affordable, and you can do it online here.

— Paul Razzell

Parenthesis 19 Sneak Peek…

Monday, August 2nd, 2010

The fall 2010 issue of Parenthesis is in the bindery and is on schedule for a September release. Here’s a pic from our designer-printer, Gaspereau Press, showing the photopolymer plate they’re using to print the letterpress cover. And below, folded sheets ready for binding. It won’t be long now until members receive their finished copies!

— Paul Razzell

First proofs of Parenthesis 19 looking very good!

Tuesday, June 22nd, 2010

This will definitely be the best-looking issue ever produced by the North American branch of the FPBA. And it will be the largest. After months of working with words, words, words, it’s great to finally see these 28 articles come to life in spreads with their vivid illustrations and handsome titles. A big thanks to our amazing designer, Andrew Steeves of Gaspereau Press, for all his elegant design solutions. More news and a sneak peek to come. . . .

— Paul Razzell

Our Designer, Andrew Steeves, Wins 5 Alcuin Design Awards!

Thursday, April 1st, 2010

Yes, we’re pretty proud of Andrew Steeves’ design work for Parenthesis. And no wonder. He’s regarded as one of the top book designers in Canada (we would settle for no less.) But don’t take my word for it: Andrew has just won 5 Alcuin Awards for book design in the Alcuin Society’s 28th annual juried book-design competition. Those who would like to have some of Andrew Steeves’ work delivered to their mailbox (viz. a copy of the forthcoming Parenthesis 19), should join the Fine Press Book Association now.)

Here’s the news from Gaspereau Press:

Five books designed by Gaspereau Press co-owner Andrew Steeves have been recognized in the Alcuin Society’s 28th annual juried book-design competition. First prizes were awarded to Gaspereau Press books in the poetry, prose fiction and prose non-fiction categories.

Winning books designed at Gaspereau Press in 2009

Selected Poems by Robert Bringhurst. This new volume brings together selections from several of Bringhurst’s collections of poetry, including The Beauty of Weapons and The Calling, along with complete works including the polyphonic Conversations with a Toad and The Blue Roofs of Japan, and a series of new poems, “The Living.” Designed by Andrew Steeves and Robert Bringhurst. Printed and bound at Gaspereau Press.

Lean-To by Tonja Gunvaldsen Klaassen. In her third book of poetry, Tonja Gunvaldsen Klaassen writes of places made home, navigating between fixed points of origin and the flotsam that encloses, between the longevity of marriage and parenthood, and the temporary of camping trips, renovations and hospital stays. Designed by Andrew Steeves and printed and bound at Gaspereau Press. This book has also been shortlisted for the Atlantic Poetry Prize.

The Sentimentalists by Johanna Skibsrud. Johanna Skibsrud’s debut novel connects the flooding of an Ontario town, the Vietnam War, a trailer in North Dakota and an unfinished boat in Maine. Parsing family history, worn childhood memories, and the palimpsest of old misunderstandings, Skibsrud’s narrator maps her father’s past. The jacket features an original illustration by Wesley Bates. Designed by Andrew Steeves and printed and bound at Gaspereau Press.

The Marram Grass: Poetry & Otherness by Anne Simpson. In six essays, poet and novelist Anne Simpson traces the paths of her thoughts, from observations to association, through poetry, language and metaphor, otherness and wilderness. Designed by Andrew Steeves and printed and bound at Gaspereau Press.

A Sound Like Water Dripping: In Search of the Boreal Owl by Soren Bondrup-Nielsen. With enthusiasm and sincerity biologist Soren Bondrup-Nielsen recalls his experience as a graduate student in the 1970s researching the Boreal Owl in northern Ontario and Alberta. Designed by Andrew Steeves and printed and bound at Gaspereau Press.

For further notes on the production of these books, please visit the Gaspereau Press blog.

— Paul Razzell