Being the Belle with Books at the Chicago Printers’ Ball

Not everyone knows we’re a Chicago area publisher. Some people assume we’re in New York, others know only that we’re somewhere in Illinois, and there’s even some Chicagoans who still don’t realize that we’re a small, independent house rather than a trade branch of one of the textbook companies in town.  So we thought we’d take part in the 6th Annual Printers’ Ball this year, a showcase event that celebrates small presses, indie publications, art journals, zines—and now, digital publishing. Really it’s a big, FREE shindig thrown by the Poetry Foundation and Columbia College’s Center for Book and Paper Arts, sort of a gigantic block party for the Chicago literary neighborhood.

So we sent multiple copies of our new Spring 2010 books for giveaway and then a group of us headed downtown ourselves to view the mayhem. We’d heard that it was better to get there as early as possible for the free stuff, and while we indeed collected our share of magazines, newspapers, poetry journals, buttons, and miniature art, we really wanted to see how our free books were faring. We needn’t have worried: we found our books on a table just outside the elevator bank, and mostly gone. Amidst all the periodicals, a stack of full-color hardcover books proved hard to resist—it was fun to watch people rifle through them. By the end of the first hour all our books had found good homes.

Here's a nice man posing with what was left when we arrived.

There were several print and paper related art installations, as well as bookbinding, stamp making, and papermaking demonstrations.  (FYI, there’s a lot – A LOT – of water used in papermaking.)  We saw art students in paper dresses, someone dressed up as a chipmunk, and a guy with a giant book strapped to his torso. We wished we’d taken a few more pictures.  But whatever—we were happy to be part of it all.

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Being the Belle with Books at the Chicago Printers’ Ball