Monday, September 26, 2011

Notes on old new little presses part three & parts one, two, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine

Unless I'm mistaken Bob Cobbing purchased his supplies of sundries for Writers Forum (wf) publishing and New River Project printing from commercial stationery suppliers. Whilst limited in just about every sense of description, wf publications were rarely promoted as limited editions in explicit sales pitch as collectable commodities. Eventual collectability may have been implicit in exchange with coin, but everyone who knew Bob also knew he would generously give wf publications away in a public bar, or perhaps a quick deal for a couple of pints and a malt.

Numbering and cataloguing work seemed crucial to Cobbing, as were obtaining an ISBN for each title, along with inscribed wf print/reprint/anniversary month and year on every small print run.

Cobbing also guided the Association of Little Presses (ALP) away from association with the growing organization for 'small presses' although Bob was happy to table wf publications at small press bookfairs. Another contradiction it seems, but all-purpose 'small press' designation favoured in North America during the late 20c counterculture boom did not always include poetry - the mode Cobbing committed his life to.

Small press zines, comics, and books, many conventionally perfect-bound in imitation of corporate publishing house product were usually content-driven. As long as cheap paper supply, word processor with basic font menu, ink cartridge, printer, stapler and clean work-top for collation was readily available - did it really matter what source and measure of each and every item of production was?

Perhaps "no" but for the old new little press producer the answer is surely "yes".

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