No Reply Press
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I just found a Kickstarter for Edgar Allan Poes The Masque of the Red Death by the No Reply Press (https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/237275479/the-masque-of-the-red-death?ref=u...). Has anybody of you heard of the before or owns/seen one of their books in person? As their books look quite interesting I backed the Hardbound Collector tier.
I've never heard of them, either. Looks like they have been in operation for a year or less. I'm willing to give them a chance. I pledged as a Hardbound Collector, giving me four hardbound titles. Thanks for bringing them to the group's attention.
I went the whole-hog, and ordered the leatherbound edition. I am a sucker for leather.
May order more from them after I see this edition in six months.
Thanks for the link >1 c_schelle:
Looks very interesting, seemingly in a similar vein to the Thornwillow Press offerings (albeit without their track record).
I’ve pledged for a hardbound copy, which I hope will make a nice companion to my copy of the South Street Seaport Museum Press edition of Poe’s The Pit and the Pendulum.
If you're so inclined you can order directly through the press rather than Kickstarter -- I assume this way means more money goes to them.
Interesting. Deckled edges give hope of nice paper, but the typographical layout is bugging me somewhat - that thin column with asymmetrical negative space (a LOT of white space for the outer margins)... It can definitely work, as with Folio's Letterpress Shakespeares, where wide margins let the poetry breathe. But LP Shakespeares have the room - they're something like 14"x11". Here the book is much smaller. Ah well, maybe I'll try it out in paper wrappers.
Edited to add: Their claim of Poe being neglected is really odd. On the contrary, Poe is published by everybody and their dog, both in regular and fine editions. There are so many different works out there, and yet new publishers usually jump into the game with 100500th version of Poe, Sherlock Holmes, Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, Dracula, etc. Yawn.
>7 elladan0891: I just checked, and I have Poe books by ten different publishers in my library. On the other hand, this didn't stop me from checking out the No Reply Press and signing on to their Kickstarter (cloth edition).
Poe is surely popular. That's why, of course, he's a safe bet for a starting publisher. I get that. But I still find that boring, even though I'm considering getting a copy myself :)
But what really prompted my comment is the bizarreness of their claim.
I really like the hardbound book! Although, $65 for just one single Poe story... not sure I can justify that. Tales of Mystery and Imagination is 12 stories, so that amounts to $780...
I just received confirmation that ordering directly does indeed ensure that more of the money goes to the press and less to Kickstarter, in case anyone was wondering whether my guess was correct.
Per sdawson's invitation, I wanted to introduce myself. I'm the newly-minted editor of No Reply Press. I've been a follower of the forum for years, and a collector of fine press books for longer. I especially collect work from the Old Stile Press, Rampant Lions, Golden Cockerel, the Allen Press, Jericho Press, Trovillion Press (which I don't think I've ever seen mentioned on the forum, but certainly deserves attention), and of course Thornwillow and Arion Presses. My two most recent additions to my collection are Old Stile's "Lens of Crystal" and Arion's "Trout Fishing In America".
I am currently a full-time writer, but joined up with No Reply last summer.
I met the folks behind No Reply while visiting my hometown, Portland. They're an incredibly passionate group who have dedicated significant portions of their lives to bookmaking. (Our usual printer, for example, has an MFA in the book arts!) When I met the group, they were making terrific editions but had little business or editorial experience. My background is in the business side of publishing, and I thought their work was excellent, so I offered to lend a hand by putting together a Kickstarter campaign for their next edition. One thing led to another — and here we are. The campaign has more than tripled its goal in just a few days! The whole team, as you'd expect, is thrilled, and ready to show our backers what we can accomplish.
I'd be delighted to answer any questions that anybody has. You can also always reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org with questions or suggestions. I'm always eager for feedback — it's the only way one can improve one's work! Speaking of which...
elladan0891 You are so totally and completely correct! I myself am the guilty party, having wrote the statement in question, "Poe has been neglected..." When I wrote it, I had something different in mind. That is, in the past half century or so, Poe has increasingly been taken off school curriculums, and is not so widely read by casual readers as he once was. However, you are completely correct — Poe is by no means ignored by publishers! I've just run up to my own collection, and I can count seven fine press Poe editions (to say nothing of all the trade editions I have). I can completely see how, in the context of a fine press announcing another Poe book, the claim that he has been neglected might seem bizarre! I've changed the language on the campaign.
Another quick note — on the creator's end of any Kickstarter campaign, it tells you where pledges are coming from. The Library Thing community is currently our single biggest group of support. I am so honored. I've spoken to a few folks here already, but if anybody wants to set aside their number or letter right now, please let me know so I can do so!
Alright — that's enough from me. Thanks so much everybody and best wishes from Portland,
>16 grifgon: Hi Griffin,
thanks for taking the time to post here and taking the feedback here into account.
It's interesting to me that Poe is dropped from the curriculum. We had to read The Black Cat in my english course 11th grade in germany. Even my realtively small library (at least compared to most other memebers of this forum) contains 2 editions of Poes works (One form the Etherial Vision Kickstarter and one from the Tartarus Press), but well crafted books are always welcome.
As indicated by Griffins post about the big support for the Kickstarter we should consider calling this forum the Fine Press (Enablement) Forum ;-) I'm looking to buy way more books recommended here than would be optimal for my bank account.
Best wishes for the campaign! I just backed for a hardcover. Can't wait to see more from your press.
I have a Trovillion book myself, "Love Letters of Henry VIII", it's lovely.
12: Have to disagree, to an extent. The Pegana Press books include specially commissioned and beautiful illustrations. The books are much larger. Also letterpress Lovecraft is harder to come by then Letterpress Poe. Also it's four tales, so about $250 if assuming $65 per tale. Regardless, I agree Pegana is very expensive. I will say some of the other NRP titles sound much more unique and interesting in my opinion.
Great to see you on the forum, thanks for the information.
I have also backed the standard hardcover option - it seems to me like an excellent and under-tapped pricepoint for a classic short story in letterpress (as do others, clearly, from the speed that the kickstarter counter is dropping).
I look forward to seeing more from you in the future.
As a fellow Portlander I had no choice but to support them in this endeavor. I chose their hardbound collector tier and am looking forward to seeing a local printer get off the mark in a big way. Also I'm a sucker for anything Poe or Tolstoy and can't pass up the chance to pick up both in private press formats.
As much as I'd like to leave the origin of our name in unreplied-to obscurity...
The name goes back to 2012, when I was a playing card designer. I started a little playing card company with a friend (who is now involved with the press). We spent about an hour at a vegan frozen yogurt shop (very portland) thinking of names. Unable to come up with anything, we emailed a friend to put him on the case. His email account, however, had been suspended, so we received an automatic response with the subject, "No Reply".
If that isn't a sign from the corporate branding gods, I don't know what is.
The playing card company is long dormant, so when I met the craftspeople behind our press, and we discussed what we'd call ourselves, we just borrowed the old name.
>24 wcarter: wcarter:
That's wonderful! I love the Trovillions' work. They have a wonderful story too. If I remember correctly, their hometown (where the press was located) became sort of a haven for fascists before and during the Second World War. They used their press to stand up to the local menace, at considerable risk to their own lives!
Jericho Press is already listed, in the Active List, above the Inactive List in which Trovillion Press is listed.
Welcome! I'm glad you didn't take offense at my remark. Wishing you and your partners best of luck and much success.
Do you have any near future plans to publish longer works? Perhaps a ~100-page novella?
>30 elladan0891: elladan0891
Exactly my thinking. So far, we've stuck to short stories and essays because our cylinder press is *extremely* low-tech. Each spread is inked and printed manually. Most big letterpress operations use Heidelbergs (which, after the setup, are basically automatic) or at least Vandercooks that have electric roller which are self-inking. The success of this campaign will probably mean that we can acquire (or rent access to) a better machine. We'd still want the machine to be hand-operated, but a self-inking cylinder press that could do 4-up rather than just 2-up would be nice!
I think after "The Masque of the Red Death" is completely shipped, we'll likely plan on something around 100 pages for our next edition — just as you suggest. We have a few interesting leads. The incredible Shakespeare scholar Stephen Greenblatt may be willing to write us an introduction to one of the plays. I've been in discussion with the Isaac Assimov estate about getting the rights to one of his works — they have been very stingy in the past with giving out rights, but for the reason of some "publishing politics" they seem receptive to us.
Thank you for your update. I would cherish to see a production of Hemingway’s The Old Man and the Sea or even Khalil Gibran’s The Prophet.
>31 grifgon: That sounds extremely promising on the technical part. Fingers crossed. I also much appreciate your contributions here on the forum. Somehow, this interaction makes me feel more connected to your edition.
Please allow me fsome feedback on your plans to publish yet another letterpress edition of one of Shakespeare's plays. There are already many beautiful and very collectible letterpress editions out there, i.e. the one of Folio Society or the Limited Editions Club who have published Shakespeare's oeuvre in its entirety. Officina Bodoni, Julius Schröder, Shakespeare Head Press, Thornwillow, Cranach Presse, Alberto Tallone, Ganymed, Anvil Press, Caliban Press,... I guess the list could go on forever, have all published various plays or the sonnets. Unless you take a unique approach like the Barbarian Press did with their Pericles, your edition will most likely engender little interest, at least in my case.
What about Catullus' mini epic 64 (!), the homeric hymns, one or two of Orwell's essays (imagine illustrations done by Walton Ford!), Shelley's poems with some calligraphic work (hard to find in an affordable edition. Please correct me if I am wrong), or one of Wilde's tales (same like with Shelley's poems)?
I guess, I wish I could start a fine press at some point :D
I'm in complete agreement with >33 SebRinelli: on the Shakespeare, there is already so much choice... and I'm also in vigorous agreement with his suggestions too - one or two of Orwell's essays (shooting an elephant/such such were the joys) would be a particularly inspired choice; to me these types of publications, and by that I mean the *slightly* more obscure publications from authors that are extremely well-established in the more "traditional" novel canon - seem so overlooked by private presses.
I'd also like to see some more "modern" plays (ie less than 100yrs old) in letterpress, particularly with modern artistic interpretations - anything by Noel Coward and an interesting artist would have me camping at your door.
>33 SebRinelli: - if you do start that press, do let me know ;)
Seb: Similar to Wm. Shakespeare's works, Oscar Wilde's short stories and tales have been published ad nauseum in fine and private press editions - no need for another. If you are interested in Oscar Wilde, I can make numerous recommendations for you to explore.
If you're considering Asimov, perhaps some Ray Bradbury would be in order?
>35 dlphcoracl: I would be delighted!
I know only of the Arion Press edition and the early Folio Edition but in both cases the illustrations do not appeal to me.
Please consider Lovecraft's The Colour out of Space.
Thank you and keep up the good work! Best of luck and success to you.
Below is a summary of numerous Oscar Wilde fine & private press editions that are worthy of consideration:
1. The House of Pomegranates and Other Stories, Methuen & Co. With sixteen illustrations by Jessie M. King (1915). The Jessie King art nouveau illustrations are absolutely stunning. This book is difficult to find in collectible condition and it is expensive, typically $1200-$1800 depending on condition.
2. The Oscar Wilde set from Methuen and Co. (1908). This is a 14-volume set printed on hand-made paper with limp vellum and gilt bindings. These books are often sold separately.
3. The Oscar Wilde books from Charles Carrington & Co. (Paris): Carrington published a 14 volume deluxe set on Japan vellum paper with full limp vellum and gilt bindings in 1908. These books are often sold separately and they are indeed luxe. Be certain the book you are purchasing is from the deluxe edition of 80 copies and not a lesser edition.
3. The Ballad of Reading Gaol: numerous private press editions worth considering including: Old Stile Press, Roycrofters, Carpathian Press (the deluxe edition of 25 copies in full green morocco binding by master bookbinder Anthony Wessely is especially sought after).
4. De Profundis: Officina Bodoni and the Folio Society Fine Press edition from 1991.
5. The Fisherman and His Soul, Grabhorn Press, 1939. Limited to 200 copies. Stunning.
6. The Young King and Other Stories (1953). This is one of the oldest and best FS titles, with beautiful wood engravings by John Gaastra which are colored in black, red and varying shades of blue.Printed letterpress (I think) by the Shenval Press in Great Britain. Be certain it has the original dust wrapper, with a design that matches the design on the covers of the binding. Elegant little book.
7. The Fairy Tales of Oscar Wilde, Beehive Books, 2018. This is not letterpress but the illustrations and binding design by Yuko Shimizu are worth the price of admission. Also includes a distinctive slipcase with die-cut, foil blocked design. Only $100 and for a large quarto-size book. Beautiful and a personal favorite. Link below.
>37 SebRinelli: LEC also published several Wildes:
1937 The Ballad of Reading Gaol
1938 Salome in two volumes in French and English; LEC's baby brother, Heritage Press, also did a completely different Salome exclusive (not sure what year)
1957 The Picture of Dorian Gray
1968 Short Stories
1973 Lady Windermere's Fan and The Importance Of Being Earnest
FS published several different editions of Wilde's works throughout the years, check the link below and search for "Wilde":
>31 grifgon: I've been in discussion with the Isaac Assimov estate
Nice, wishing you best of luck with Asimov! Just try to avoid that double-s typo when conversing with his estate ;)
And the Bowler Press edition of The importance of Being Earnest -- really nice little production.
>33 SebRinelli: SebRinelli: I agree entirely, both on the dullness of another Shakespeare, and that Barbarian's Pericles is the exception that proves the rule. Our interest at the moment is more regarding what Stephen Greenblatt's contribution might be. I've found that great scholars tend to allow themselves a little more leeway in the ideas they present in small editions than in big trade editions. I think Neil Rudenstine's introduction to the Thornwillow Sonnets is a good example. But generally, I'm in total agreement.
To you and hiphopopotamus' point, George Orwell would be fantastic. His estate is notoriously reluctant to give out rights. I have tried and will keep trying. The other one is Borges' estate. But I'll keep knocking on that door until they let me in.
>35 dlphcoracl: dlphcoracl: I am studying your list of recommendations carefully. I really like the Arion illustrations. Is there anything by Wilde that you think has been seriously overlooked by publishers (fine and otherwise)?
>36 kermaier: kermaier: Absolutely! Ray Bradbury is a personal favorite of mine, and his work can inspire such great art.
>41 elladan0891: elladan0891: This is what happens when you post during the halftime of an extremely close Trail Blazers game. Thanks for the help: I hereby declare you an honorary editor of No Reply Press. Welcome to the team! (I've just panic-searched my correspondence with the estate and thankfully not a superfluous S in sight.) :D
43: Next week, it will be 70 years from Orwell's death. This means that by January 1, 2021 all his works will be out of copyright within the EU, and pretty much everywhere else in the world, as well. After that, it might get a bit easier to obtain publication rights for that one remaining Mickey Mouse country.
Frankly, Oscar Wilde is well represented in the fine & private press literature. I omitted the Arion Press book because SebRinelli mentioned that he didn't like the illustrations. Incidentally, the least expensive of the choices listed - the vintage Folio society book published in 1953 - is a jewel and the coloured wood engravings are distinctive and beautiful. The short story collection is also well chosen. Of the expensive editions, the Methuen & Co. book illustrated by Scottish artist Jessie M. King (1915) in the original blue binding with elaborate artwork on the covers is beyond compare, truly a desert island book - with prices to match (see links).
Melville's Bartleby, the Scrivener might not be a bad choice. There's the Indulgence Press version, but it's a popular enough (and well-taught enough) work that there must surely be demand for more than 100 copies in the fine press world.
>31 grifgon: Please, please, please consider some writers outside of the Western White Male Canon. As I've been writing about on my blog, The Whole Book Experience, the WWMC has more than it's share of books published by fine and private presses as it does in the publishing world at large. Maybe some Harriet Wilson, Ambai, Roxane Gay, Louise Erdrich, Ursula Le Guin, Anne Carson, Simone Weil, Woolf, Clarice Lispector, Anaïs Nin, Dubravka Ugrešić, Niviaq Korneliussen, Waubgeshig Rice, etc. There are so many to consider...
Many of the authors you (>49 jveezer:) have listed are truly obscure and I think you need to separate the wheat from the chaff with your female author recommendations. Better choices, imho, may be a short story from Mavis Gallant, Alice Munro or Doris Lessing or a selection of poetry from Elizabeth Bishop or Jorie Graham. Publishing works from authors outside of the WWMC that few other people have ever heard of is a surefire recipe for a small, fledgling private press to go out of business very quickly. Feminist literature may be your cup of tea but it does not cast a very wide net.
I have a book from Michael McCurdy's Penmaen Press (1978, limited edition of 200 signed by the authors and illustrator) called Banquet, which presents five short stories by Joyce Carol Oates, Maxine Kumin, Rosellen Brown, Jean McGarry and Lynne Sharon Schwartz, with wood engravings by Gillian Tyler.
While it's a very nice production, with very good fiction and artwork by women, Joyce Carol Oates is the only author whose name I knew already.
On the other hand, if the Penmaen Press was able to make it work financially 40+ years ago, perhaps others should feel emboldened to try something similar today.
On the other other hand, the Penmaen Press printed a trade edition simultaneous with the signed, limited edition, which changes the financial picture.
On the other other other hand, if a trade edition was justified then, perhaps at least a limited edition could be made to work now.
Of course, Penmaen Press had a lot more history and work under its belt than No Reply Press has so far, so maybe the situations aren't as comparable as I've implied.
Feminist literature may be your cup of tea but it does not cast a very wide net.
Literature by women authors isn't necessarily correctly nor aptly described as "feminist literature". As for the width of the net, women authors address themselves to as wide an audience as white men do.
Feminism is a special topic and therefore addresses people interested in that topic, but not exclusively people of one gender. I didn't get from jveezer's post that they were thinking specifically of feminist works.
Seeing the criticism you got, I feel an obligation to thank you in public for reminding us that non-male non-white authors worthy of fine press treatment exist.
I understand the difference between a female author and a feminist author. A number of jveezer's suggestions were indeed feminist authors, i.e., writers concerned with gender identity, female inequality, etc., specifically: Ambai (aka C.S. Lakshmi), Roxane Gay, to a lesser extent Anaïs Nin (erotica rather than feminist issues). I am not suggesting that adventurous readers should not explore them but I AM saying that a small private press just starting out can, and should, focus on authors (both male and female) with a wider and more general reading audience. The female literary figures I suggested will appeal to a much wider and less specialized readership.
>49 jveezer: This is a little "hush hush," and not yet 100% assured, but we are in the final steps of putting together an edition with Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. I heard her speak last year and was blown away. I got in touch immediately afterward and she and her agent were receptive. If it works out, we would be publishing an essay called, "Literature As Religion". Currently just waiting on some publishing house bureaucracy to clear up...
I mention this because her essay addresses EXACTLY the point you make.
>50 dlphcoracl: I've met Jorie Graham a few times and would love to work with her... Would especially love to persuade her to write an introduction sometime. Hopes and dreams!
>54 grifgon: Adichie would be a "must have" for me. Love her work. My list of suggestions were authors with short works that would be easier for the press you are currently working with. Of course I would love to see Half of a Yellow Sun but that would probably take a Heidelberg. We Should All Be Feminists would probably sell out quickly I'm sure! ;)
>50 dlphcoracl: Sure, I would love to see those authors. At least they are women, feminist or not. But I would be more happy to see writers of color.
>52 LolaWalser: Thanks for your words!
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie? Who is that? Obviously not my cup of tea. If I've never heard of this person, then I don't run in those circles. Which is fine. Others do and others are obviously interested.
Which means that no matter what you do, you will gain the interest of some and loose the interest of others. That is just the way the ball bounces.
>56 Glacierman: Oh I highly, highly recommend her work! You are exactly right: Any pick of title is going to excite some and give others a big yawn.
>54 grifgon: I would love Adichie. I'd also be interested in classical works from outside the standard canon -- Kalidasa comes to mind, as does Attar of Nishapur. Outside of Melville my main collecting interest is in Chinese literature, especially poetry, so I'd find releases along those lines irresistible.
In terms of more modern work, James Baldwin, Langston Hughes and Zora Neale Hurston are under-represented in fine press. I will also take this opportunity to continue my minor quest to see Stephen Jay Gould given his due :)
And, backed! :)
But oddly enough, I wasn't asked for a shipping address, did this happen to anyone else?
I am - sort of - new to Kickstarter.
I went back to my copy of Tales of Mystery and Imagination (the Calla Editions version that also has the Harry Clarke illustrations), and Masque of the Red Death is only 7 pages long - and not small type. Even assuming really large margins/type for this version, i feel like it would be hard to stretch this out more than 24 pages or so. I appreciate what they’re doing (and I backed them for the bookmark), but to me that is just too much money for a story that short (even with letterpress and and all the care they are taking to make this a beautifully designed/printed book). Hopefully when we see the longer format work >16 grifgon: references above it’ll be at a not-too-much higher price point.
Shipping won't happen for a long time, I think this was a June production date. Typically Kickstarter projects ask for shipping address just before they are ready to ship.
I backed the hardbound and I’m delighted to see such an interesting exchange with the NRP editor. Thank you.
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