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The Ideal Book – Paper Edition

This is a facsimle letterpress edition of T.J. Cobden-Sanderson's seminal essay, The Ideal Book or Book Beautiful: A Tract on Calligraphy, Printing and Illustration, and on the Book Beautiful As a Whole. It is in almost all respects, a facsimile the original Doves Press edition (albeit with two added pages of historical material and a colophon). The Paper Facsimile Edition is limited to no more than 100 copies.



  • This is a line-by-line recreation of the original essay as published by The Doves Press in 1900, utilizing the first edition's size, typeface, punctuation, and layout. This edition is letterpress printed on a Heidelberg Windmill press by Tristan Reader of Ampersand Book Studio, under the guidance of Eric Doyle of Betts Printing in Tucson, Arizona. Photopolymer plates were prepared by Boxcar Press of Syracuse, New York.
  • The paper is some of the last Zerkall Frankfurt 120gsm paper available. As noted in our Substack post on "The Paper Chase," it is the closest paper that we have found to that used in the Doves Press edition. Unfortunately, the Zerkall Mill ceased producton in 2021, making this one of the last publications to be printed on this lovely paper.
  • The binding and finishing are in the same "limp vellum" style as the original Doves Press edition. This simple style, favored by Cobden-Sanderson, is based upon medieval bindings, and features the same signature green sewing thread  of the Doves Press edition.
  • The cover this edition is made of "Elephant Hide" paper from the Zanders Paper Mill in Germany; this paper closely mimics the vellum – a form of leather – used in the original. It is one change from being a full facsimile of the original. A very limited number of vellum-bound copies of this essay are also available in the Ampersand Book Studio shop.
  • The title is tooled on the spine using Baskerville 16pt brass type produced by Kevin Noakes of Bookbindesign in England.


Learn more about the design and creation of the print on Substack
Our Substack followers get behind-the-scenes views of our creative process, including free essays on…

  • The Doves Typeface – Birth, Death & Rebirth
  • Creating a New 'Johnston' Heading for the Book Beautiful Art Print
  • The Arts and Crafts Movement and the Fine Press
  • Edward Johnston and the 'Especial Beauty of the Headings'

The Ideal Book – Paper Edition

  • Free standard shipping within the U.S. included. For international rates, please contact us.

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