Six Years With iBookBinding

Well, at least for some of our community members. iBookBinding was launched in August 2013, but I started following it a bit later. And in August 2015, after long consideration and heated debates, my wife and I became owners of the project.

Usually, I write some kind of an anniversary post early in August, but this year’s vacation affected the timeline. So, here it is, almost in September.

Developing this project taught me a lot, and I’m very happy everything happened to be as it was, and as it is now. After moving from Russia, iBookBinding allowed me to have a day job without having to go to an office and without a series of stressful HR interviews. It is also useful to have this type of work that isn’t tied to a particular location considering that my wife’s job will make us move again (and again?)

But most of all, I understand that iBookBinding helps many of the community members to get bookish news and information about bookbinding and book arts.

The thing that really makes going isn’t only the money. Well, I’d like to bring some income to our family. But I celebrate every positive review on Etsy (not that there are any negative reviews), and every “Thank you” DMed at me on Facebook or Instagram. This positivity shared with me by the community members is why I’m happy to continue working on the project almost every day.

Every year something changes at iBookBinding. I always look for better ways to create interesting content and make better tools for bookbinders and artisans working with related arts and crafts. For a long time, it was a one-man-project (even while my wife and I own it together.) Some wonderful guest authors were writing for iBookBinding from time to time. But now there are many more of them. Some of the contributors work with our Facebook page as well. And there are more of them going to join the team soon!

Our Contributors

I want to mention each of the contributors who worked with iBookBinding this year:

Sofya Chizhova

I wrote above that my beloved wife is a sort of a silent partner in this venture, but it isn’t really true. First, this smart and strong woman always helps to brave hard times that every project faces from time to time. Second, almost every one of the fantastic photos at our Instagram account was edited by her. Without her attention to the details, these pictures wouldn’t be half as amazing!

I met Erica while studying at the American Academy of Bookbinding in Telluride, Colorado. She shares her own experiences with unusual book formats and things he learned while studying art fundamentals in Canada. You’ll find her posts here.

Eliane is the owner of an independent book restoration atelier: Nautilus Boekbinderij in Haarlem, the Netherlands. She started bookbinding in 2006, following her curiosity. And now she works on some amazing restoration projects! Every post of hers is a dive into book history and technology of modern book repairs!

Elizabeth was the first intern to work with iBookBinding, and I hope that collaboration gave both of us important insights. She both wrote posts and updated our Facebook feed. So some of the witty comments during this past spring may have been hers, not mine.

Roald Fradkine is a student in the humanities at McGill University, who loves books and spends more time in libraries than is probably healthy. This year, he’s keeping you updated on interesting things in the bookish world as well as bringing some longer pieces on bookish topics.

Matt Mina

Matt is a used books seller from Durant, Oklahoma. He’s been working with links shared on our Facebook feed for a while, but also plans to share some posts of his own writing.

Friedrich’s interest in bookbinding started in the late months of 2013. After about a year of making his first steps in the field and searching for a suitable bookbindery, in 2015 he started his apprenticeship, finishing it two and a half years later in 2018. The same year he began studying Book Art at the Burg Giebichenstein University of Arts and Design Halle (Germany). Now he shared his first short post at iBookBinding and plans to post more!

iBookBinding’s Etsy Shop

Every year I add new tools and jigs to our Etsy shop. And designs of old tools are constantly updated as well, as I use many of them and try to implement comments I receive from the customers.

Papermaking

This year was mostly about the different types of 3d-printed papermaking molds. Now we offer molds for the smallest sizes of 10×10 cm to huge ones of 37×37 cm. Hopefully, next year we’ll be able to provide you with molds for sizes up to A3+.

The main benefit of these molds (apart from a reasonable price) is that we can easily print them with almost any watermark or for almost any shape of paper: circles, stars, hexagons, country-shaped paper. There are practically no limits! There mesh patterns also may be quite different: from patterns similar to tradition wove and laid paper, to hexagons, triangles, rhombi, and other.

You can find some info on the development of the modern design of our papermaking molds here.

Book Scanning

Another tool that went through a massive development process this year is our book scanning frame. Initially, we offered only one size suitable for books with pages up to 23 cm (9″) wide and 31 cm (12″) tall. Now we offer frames for many different sizes from miniature books to tomes up to 28×36 cm in size!

The size of the frame is important because when you put a small book on a large frame, the page would occupy only a fraction of your digital image. Thus the final resolution would be lower. With a smaller frame, you’ll get image quality limited only by your smartphone’s abilities!

https://www.etsy.com/shop/ibookbindingstore?section_id=25381151

Here and here are posts about the development of the frame.

Bookbinding Tools

Of course, bookbinding tools are also sold at our shop, as it was for quite a long time. And they remain to be our most popular products: corner cutting jigs, rounding tools, sewing frames and keys, straight edges and gauges, and more!

Almost all of them went through updates this year as well. For example, all of our corner cutting jigs and rounding tools now come with sizes imprinted on them. This way, you do not need to measure them before using them.

iBookBinding Merch

That’s a recent development. And we have plans on adding more things. Check them out if you need an apron, or just want to support us and buy a T-shirt or a mug!

https://www.etsy.com/shop/ibookbindingstore?section_id=26978543

Online Courses and Future Projects

As usual, there are many ideas on how to grow the project and what to do next. This year I hope to launch our first eLearning course finally. In contrast with some other course available online, I decided not to make something dedicated to one of the bookbinding styles, but focus on a single element of a book. This time it is turning in material near book cover’s corners.

Some may be surprised by this choice. But then, we sell these corner cutting jigs so that it may be a reasonable first theme for us!

I started with an idea to showcase some four or five main methods, including 2-3 for paper and cloth covers and 2 for leather. When the course expanded to something like 20 lessons, I understood that I need to focus on paper/cloth covers and leave the leather for the extended course. Otherwise, I’d just never finish the course.

Other ideas include regular interviews, podcasts, additional videos, new sections for posts, etc. Hopefully, with of our new contributors, some of these will launch pretty soon!

By the way, if you’d like to see something on iBookBinding, leave a comment below. We have a lot of ideas, but it is always essential to stay in touch with the audience.

How to Support Us?

Besides buying our tools, there are some other ways to support iBookBinding.

First, follow us on Facebook and Instagram. Like and share our posts. This helps a lot, not only because more people join the community, but because higher engagement rises our confidence that we are making something good and useful.

Another way to give us monetary support is to become our patron on Patreon. The amount pledged to iBookBinding may not seem to be a hoard of money, but it allows us to cover our hosting expenses, and we are grateful to each of our supporters. By the way, that amount tripled during this past year, so the trend is pretty good! Pledges start with only a $1 per month.

Finally, you can buy our merch. It is produced by a partner with production in the US and EU, and we checked the quality before adding it to our Etsy shop.

Thanks for being with us! Next year will be even more exciting!

Please Support us at Patreon!

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However, starting with a pledge level of $5, our supporters get at least 2 digitized vintage books about bookbinding, book history or book arts per month from us!

These pledges help iBookBinding to continue its work and bring more information about bookbinding and book arts to you!