I was asked recently about my products being copyrighted.
"How can you copyright something written and printed before they invented Copyright Laws?"
Just so you know, I am not copyrighting the actual text. What I am copyrighting is the art work I have done to that text. If you have ever found a digital copy of an 18th century text, you will note that it is not very crooked, distorted and covered in clutter. Pretty ugly stuff. But with hours and hours of work, I straighten, eliminate distortion and clean, clean, clean the clutter. I am copyrighting my art work done to the scan.
Unfortunately, many reenactors will pay a small price for my products, then dash to the local copy shop and start cranking out imitations of my work. Oddly enough, I may charge $6.00 for the pamphlet, but they think it is gold and charge $9.00.
One such person did just that, flooding Ebay with very poor replicas of my work. They even used a stapler on crappy 'parchment' type paper and they charged 60% of my price. But, they promptly stopped once they received a cease and desist letter. Not that I relish doing that, but it is not fair that they reap profits of my labor.
Here is an example: A 32 page pamphlet may take 4 hours of cleaning and art work to make it presentable. Even if I were to get paid a measly $15.00/hour, that is a cost of $60.00 to transform a crappy digital to a readable piece. Now, depending on the pamphlet, I may not sell thousands. So, the cost of the piece has may include some money to recoup the artwork. Maybe $0.25 in each. So, I would have to sell 240 pamphlets to ONLY recoup the cost of the clean up. If Mr. Rip Off sells 50 on his own, I may never fully recoup my costs.
Is that fair? I don't think so. How would you feel if you wrote a book and the first book off the press was scanned and emailed to a million people .... you'd never make a dollar for your labor.
Thus the letters.
Meeting a Hero
I have many heroes in my life. Some obvious, many not.
My admiration goes to people that have the same level of passion that I have about historic bookbindings and original books. This man is one that I admire for his dedication to TWO of my passions. History and food!
Chef Walter Staib not only runs one of the finest restaurants in Philadelphia, but does so in a historic location called the City Tavern. His food is exceptional, as is his love for history. He hosts and stars in his own production "A Taste of History" which is a cooking show where he teaches not only cooking techniques and recipes from the 18th century, but teaches about historic figures or groups from America's past.
I had the distinct pleasure meeting Chef at his restaurant. Knowing I would have several meals there while on a sales trip in Philly and that he would be in town while I was there, I took a rare moment to rebind one of his cookbooks into an 18th century full leather edition (seen in photo). Not only did he autograph it, but he appreciated my skills enough to bring me one of his cookbooks and ask me to bind it in similar fashion. What an honor for me!
His shows have won 12 Emmys (more than M.A.S.H.) and whether you are simply a foodie, or historian, you will love his show. Look him up!
If you ever get to Philly .... you MUST eat there!
Old Dog - New Tricks
I like to jostle young people's minds by letting them know that "When I was a in High School" .... I used a 'slide-rule' instead of a pocket calculator AND I actually started programing computers. Yes, old man me, started programing in the Jurassic age of punch cards. Trays and trays of cards with holes punched in them ... thousands of cards .... just to create ONE high level algebraic calculation. That was at the tender time of the early 70's.
So, fast forward to the new millennium. I created about 4 or 5 different websites for myself fledgling business using Microsoft Publisher. OK all you geeks ... quit giggling. I knew the program well (now days I guess I am supposed to say "App" instead of program). But, as there was no such thing as "ecommerce", they worked OK. But, in the past few years I just knew I had to leap into the wading pool of online stores. Time to put on my swimming trunks, hold my breath, and dive head first.
As a small business man it was tough to talk to web designers and hear them quote $100 per hour. Holy Key-Punchers! I'd have to work half a day to pay them for a single hour! Makes me wish I had not stayed with programming after high school. So, being the frugal curmudgeon I am, I dug around until I found this web builder. Because of my knowledge of various publication software, Adobe and others, I made the transition from "Punch-Card Programmer" to Online business man without destroying my lap-top, my self esteem and a string of colorful curse words that would float in the atmosphere like 1960's smog.
This is one "Old-Dog" that has learned a new trick!
Stay toned to my blog. I promise in the future you'll be learning more about historical bindings than you will about old dog tricks.
Never taking myself too seriously, I am always fascinated by history. Be it my own craft or that of our forefathers. My life goal is to replicate what they knew.
Copyright 2017 by The Colonial Printer & Bookbindery
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