The project shown above is a fold-out volume (which can also be read normally) reproducing a remarkable 100-painting mural by George Allan in the Maui Arts & Cultural Center. The book is enclosed in a presentation box, handmade in China at low cost as part of an integrated design celebrating the artist's achievement.
This cover detail is from a well-received exhibition whose expanded catalog was coordinated by Artbook Press. The subsequent prize-winning book has been the basis of a film on national PBS television.


For the benefit of those new to bookmaking, the first (right-hand) page is often called the half-title, and can also be used as a dedication page. The back of this page (left-hand) is often a frontispiece reproduction in art books, opposite the facing title page (p. 3). The back of the title page is generally the copyright page, listing the copyright notice and ISBN (International Standard Book Number), which the Press can obtain on behalf of clients. Other acknowledgments and small print matter can also be included on the copyright page. These conventions are flexible when required; additional pages may be included within the sequence. The last page of a book (left-hand) is often used as a “colophon page,” naming those who worked on the project, and including space for an edition number and the artist's and/or author's signatures if a portion of the pressrun is reserved as a limited edition (often with special binding and a slipcase).

Pages are most economically laid out as 16-page “signatures.” Thus the most efficient lengths for books are multiples of 16, such as 48, 64, 96, 128 pages. Most hardcover books have outer dust jackets, usually laminated for protection, with a description of the book and an artist/author biography on the front and back flaps, respectively. For bookstore use, the ISBN number and a corresponding bar code are usually printed on the back jacket. Art books are often printed on dull-coated paper for reproduction purposes, although uncoated signatures can be included for longer sections of text. Heavier papers give books more thickness and can be advantageous for marketing purposes.

Bookstore art books are often in outsize formats, helping to justify higher list prices. But large formats can result in production and display problems, and are inconvenient for readers to hold. “Quality paperback” art book editions sometimes follow the hardcover, in the same or reduced format except for a laminated paper cover (which can include fold-under flaps like the original dust jacket). Paperback editions are often shrink-wrapped; the Press recommends individual mailing cartons for hardcover editions, available economically through offshore production. Mainly because previous hardcover editions have absorbed fixed costs, paperbacks are often priced lower than hardcovers; small original printings should be in hardcover format with realistic list prices.

The United States has many excellent printers and binders, some of whom virtually handcraft books at relatively high cost. In other instances a local printer may be selected for convenient access. However, printers with the best combination of high quality and reasonable price are currently found in Asia, where the Press has extensive production and shipping experience. Cost savings and additional production options can be very significant. Most domestic book printers do not have integrated binding operations, sometimes resulting in miscues, delays and higher prices. It is more efficient to fully prepare a book in advance, instead of relying on adjustments with a local printer. And books, whether modest or substantial, should never be undertaken without an experienced representative to closely oversee the client's interests.