Hierloom Books

Let’s make an heirloom book from your genealogy research, scrapbooks, photos, collected letters, or memoir.

Do you have genealogy research, or a collection of letters, poems, or photos that you would like to preserve as a book you can share? I can help you edit your material and form a book that will be a “keeper.” Here’s a recent project:

The Gold of Greenstone Glen, 5.5 x 8.5, 260 pages

From a box of mementos to a book

My client found the manuscript of a novel written by her ancestor. She wanted to make this special find something to share with her famiy as a book. She came to me asking if she could make 10 books bound in green leather.

After seeing the manuscript, I suggested she write an Introduction for the book, with the story of how she found the manuscript, and any other information she wanted to add. She showed me a framed newspaper article written about her relative. It was illustrated with a map of his worldwide travels — and he went everywhere! My client also had a photograph of her relative: a hunting scene in a small sepia print.

That photo, enlarged, became the front endsheets. This worked out well because on the enlargement, it is possible to see the man’s features, now visible due to high-resolution printing. The back endsheets are filled with the family tree, with room for the grandchildren to fill in the new members as they pass the book along.

With the Introduction, photos, map, and the novel, someday when somebody finds the book in grandma’s garage, the book will tell the story on its own.

Editions as low as 10 copies

From a printing standpoint, the challenge was to find a way to do so few books, and to find a way to satisfy my client’s wish for leather-bound books. Fortunately it is easier than ever to print very small quantities of books.


EditionOne is a quality digital print shop and bindery in Berkeley, CA. The Gold of Greenstone Glen is the first project I’ve done with them, and I hope to do many more. Their array of materials and finishes is a candy shop for book designers and they will produce as few as 10 books.

I visited their workshop to see examples of their work, and select a case material for my client’s book project. From their samples I could see that their bindery did a fabulous job: tight yet yielding binding, crisp foil stamping, and perfect detail work on corners and endsheets. With their guidance, I considered the leather and leatherlike options. I then explained the options to my client.

With relatively modest case stamping on leatherlike material, black and white interior, and color endsheets, we were able to keep the cost per book very close to $100/book.

Edition One provided proofs on the actual stock and produced the books in a timely manner. The books were packed beautifully in high-quality cartons.

Ready to make your heirloom?

Get in touch.

Box of books from Lightning Source

I received my first box of 4o copies of Bookbuilder’s Almanac: Volume One this week. I ordered these to send out to reviewers.

Up to now, I’ve only seen the book as a single-order printing. As you know, part of my objective with the Bookbuilder’s Almanac is to create a useful sample to show print quality.

Imagine my surprise when I surveyed my books and discovered that 16 were printed with inkjet technology and the remaining 24 were printed with toner-based printers.

Toner based printing (top) vs. inkjet printing (bottom)

The toner versions are darker and sharper than the inkjet versions. The toner is shiny. The inkjet versions are smoother and not quite black enough. Some typefaces are better in one version than the other. Both versions have similar gray capacity.

[05.11.16: My friend Alan Gilbertson observed that the two versions are printed on different papers, “a fairly opaque bright white for the toner version and a much less opaque, lower-brightness stock for inkjet,” he wrote in an email to me].

I asked my Lightning Source rep if he had any insights as to why I received a shipment printed two different ways. His response echoed the information I had received from an Edwards Bros. digital printer at the Publishing Professional’s Network conference last week: These decisions are made at the manufacturing site based on maximizing resources.

The Bookbuilder’s Almanac has a spine built to show clearly any deviation from the spine width provided by the manufacturer. Don’t design your book this way, especially for a skinny book!

In the photo below you can see where the tan front front cover was pulled on to the blue spine or where the back cover with the bright cyan, magenta, and yellow bars pulls from the back cover.

Spine variation of a box of books

My assessment is that the problem is not that the cover is mounted incorrectly but that the bulk of the book varies. Some books are clearly fatter than others. Considering, the equipment does a good job of delivering books where the cover is not compromised by showing the spine and where the spines, well, appear on the spine. Take note as you design your spines. I recommend your spine color wrap around to the back, or be the same color as the back cover area.

Binding variance over 40 books printed via Lightning Source.

I found only one major printing flaw: a place where the toner had not fused to the paper:

Flaw in a screened area from a toner printed book from Lightning Source.

I would very much like to hear your stories about books you’ve received from Lightning Source. And, while I am promoting Bookbuilder’s Almanac: Volume One, I am giving away review copies.

Comment your address to me.


BOY: A Woman Listening to Men and Boys

BOY is a collection of interviews with men and boys. Through first-person chapters, and sections with short quotes from many men on chosen topics, this book gives the reader the opportunity to listen closely and deeply along with author, editor, and listener Hathaway Barry. How does it feels to be expected to be a man? This book is a way to find out.

Cover photo: Wynn Bullock, “Child on a Forest Road”

New Title

BOY: A Woman Listening to Men and Boys
by Hathaway Barry

7 x 9, softcover, 374 pages
ISBN 978-0-692-59254-0
On sale through author website

Through first-person chapters told by 17 different men and edited sections with short quotes from many men and boys on select topics (see Contents below), this book gives the reader the opportunity to listen closely and deeply along with author, interviewer, and editor Hathaway Barry.

Barry spent several years interviewing over 80 men for this book. These were men and boys from a wide range of ages and circumstances.

How does it feel to be expected to be a man?
This book is a way to find out.

Author Hathaway Barry from the Introduction:

“I’ve listened a lot in my life — working with kids, especially in the outdoors and, for many years, as a mediator. But I am not a social scientist or an anthropologist. I am not a journalist…. I just wanted to listen without blame or judgment to how it is for men, a whole half of the human species I knew less about. I wanted to hear their honest human stories, without gloss or performance.

“I had a freedom as an interviewer. I was no one in particular in relation to these boys and men. Not wife or lover, colleague, boss or employee. I was just curious.

“Sometimes, in the midst of an interview, I was aware how rare this kind of time with another human being is. Like when we first fall in love or when a child is born or a loved one is dying. Clear, uninterrupted time to simply listen.”


Book design is by Hathaway Barry and VJB/Scribe. Barry had a vision of the cover that kept her going forward over the many years it took her to arrive at today, when the answers men gave to her openhearted questioning are a book. Her vision, including the typography, was a stepping stone to the interior design, where Avant Garde Gothic appears in the part and chapter titles. From there we resolved all the design questions together, in a remarkable collaboration.

The text has several voices: Hathaway Barry’s own voice as author and editor of the interviews, the singular voices of the 17 first-person chapters, and the chorus of men’s voices of all ages as we meet them in brief quotations followed by their age (in parenthesis).


The main text and the authors voice are set in Scala. After much experiment, and a happenstance type discovery in another book, the very readable sans serif Whitney Book became the typeface for the short quotation sections and running footers.

This is a difficult book to categorize, which is one reason we didn’t list a BISAC code on the cover.

Sociology, Psychology, Compassion Studies, Social History, Gender Studies, Live-With-Your-Man Handbook, Know Your Brothers Manifesto — Whatever you call it: Read and share Boy: A Woman Listening to Men and Boys.

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