An occasional newsletter about forthcoming books and events

August 2022

In this newsletter . . .

a new title: The last papermakers of Fukushima

a forthcoming event: the Ludlow Fine Book Fair 2022

a diatribe: about copyright

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a new title:
The last papermakers of Fukushima

Early days: gathering the parts

Late 2022?

read the next news item on this title

I could say that the best part of the process of making a book is the planning. In front of us there is a blank page (many blank pages in fact). Once its contents are ready and the design decided, there is 'just' the labour of setting and printing, page after page, sheet after sheet, getting everything ready for the binders.

We are still in the early stages with this new title, but one thing is already determined: it will be centred around thirty-one wonderful nostalgic photographs from the 1950s that Ellie Burkett has been given by a family of paper-makers in the Fukushima province of Japan. As an example, this snippet from one of them shows a nine-year-old boy separating the fibres of the kozo plant.

A book about paper-makers would not be complete without samples of their papers and we are in the process of determining what few stocks are still available so that we can include samples in each copy. They range from pure kozo to indigo-dyed and walnut-dyed papers.

We will also be letting the paper-makers themselves tell us about their process and the life they led. Ellie has known papermakers in the area since her visits in the 1980s and, through an interpreter in Japan, is gathering words to accompany each of the photographs.

While the all-important contents are being brought together, the design is taking shape around them, with the many choices to be made still in the air: of papers, types, binding structure, and more. We'll be reporting on progress as things come together. Meanwhile, expressions of interest are always welcome.


a date for your diary:
Ludlow Fine Book Fair

The Old School Press will be there

29-30 October 2022
Clive Pavilion
Ludlow Racecourse, SY8 2BT

Following the successful event held in October last year, Ludlow Bookbinders are once again hosting a fair of presses, traditional crafts, and associated artisan supplies.

An excellent venue just outside the town of Ludlow with lots of parking and easy access. Details are available from


a diatribe on:

. . . and the internet


A recent newsletter from the Society of Authors (I’m a member) prompted me to check for any of my authored books at the Open Library run by the Internet Archive. Lo, several of my books were indeed available to download.

I know that those from a previous life are either out of date or out of print so I’m not bothered – indeed I have put the entire PDF of one of them on my own (past-life) website as a public resource. However, one of my recent books on OUP is definitely still in print and still in copyright. It was ‘snatched’ in March this year by ‘ImportBot’.

I emailed the recommended ‘take-down’ request to the Internet Archive and received a reply telling me that ‘as a courtesy [sic] we have disabled controlled digital lending access for general patrons to the identified item(s), preserving access for blind and print-disabled patrons’. It can still be previewed, presumably only by the blind.

One of the legs they claim to stand on is ‘exhaustion’ which ‘allows the owner of a particular copy of a work to sell, lend, or give away that copy without payment to or permission from the rights holder’. I’ve no problem with a physical library lending out a physical copy – presumably they bought that copy. I don’t remember an order from the Internet Archive. The other leg is ‘fair use’. Say no more.

The major publishers Hachette, HarperCollins, Penguin Random House, and Wiley have an ongoing lawsuit in New York against the Internet Archive. The SoA notes in particular that ‘at the beginning of the Covid-19 health crisis, as authors faced cancelled bookings, contracts and other financial hardship, in an unprecedented attack on the rights of authors and publishers, the Internet Archive announced that it would offer unlimited lending of its collection "to serve the nation’s displaced learners". The site stoked further controversy in November 2021 when it teamed up with The National Library of New Zealand and proposed to digitise 600,000 books from its overseas collection, including thousands of in-copyright books – plans which were put on hold after international outcry.’ (my italics) I’m not sure I shall be selling books to the National Library of New Zealand if that’s their view of other people’s copyright. They’re pretty keen about copyright in their own materials, with a warning ‘This item is all rights reserved, which means you'll have to get permission from Alexander Turnbull Library before using it’ against recent materials on their website. Say no more.

If you’d like to read more, visit the relevant page at the Society of Authors website. BTW, a little digging in the Open Library and I discovered that I am also the author of ‘The children who learned to smile’, a children’s book with - strangely - exactly the same cover as my 1999 book Managing software quality and business risk. Nuff said.

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