The Fine Press Book Association

The Fine Press Book Association is an organization of individuals interested in the art of fine printing formed with the goal of promoting the appreciation of beautiful books and printing skills.

Now established for more than ten years, it has a world-wide membership of those interested in the fine book and contemporary fine printing: collectors, printers, artists, illustrators, museums, and dealers.

It publishes Parenthesis, a journal devoted to fine printing and book-making, issues an occasional e-newsletter, organises events for members and non-members, and has run competitions in book design.

cover of issue 10 of Parenthesis
Our journal

Parenthesis is the Association's journal. It is generally published twice a year and is free to members. To bring vitality and variety to Parenthesis, its production alternates between North America and the UK. In the Americas, a team headed by Paul Razzell brings out the Spring issue, whilst production of the Autumn issue is led by Sebastian Carter of Rampant Lions Press.

Issue 16 is due for publication in Spring 2009.

Each issue consists of 64pp of articles and illustrations, many in colour. Up to 90 de luxe members receive a special limited edition of Parenthesis which is case-bound and presented in a slip case with a parcel of items specially printed by presses from around the world. For example, past parcels have included wood engravings by Gaylord Shanilec, Frank Martin, and Simon King, printing from Henry Morris and Nicolas McDowall, pochoir by Peter Allen and Ian Beck, and a poster for the Pennyroyal Caxton Press edition of the Holy Bible.

For a fuller flavour of Parenthesis take a look at the contents of some past issues.

Our events

Oxford Fine Press Book Fair

Every two years, the UK Provincial Booksellers Fairs Association (PBFA) works with the Fine Press Book Association to organise the Oxford Fine Press Book Fair in Oxford, UK. This is the largest international show of fine presses and their work outside North America. The next fair will be on 7-8 November 2009. The venue will be Oxford Brookes University, Gipsy Lane, Oxford. The Fair manager is Toby English.

The Fair includes the award of the Gregynog Letterpress Prize. A prize of 500 is awarded to the FPBA member who, in the opinion of the judges, has produced the finest book using traditional letterpress in the period since the last fair. The winners selected in 2007 were Gaylord Shanilec and Ben Verhoeven for Sylvae.

There are also the Judges' Choice Awards where three collectors and dealers choose five of their favourites of the books published since the previous fair. Receiving mention in 2007 were Shanty Bay Press, Verdigris, Barbarian Press, Whittington Press, and Ken Ferguson.

On Sunday the Fair hosts a series of lectures on fine-press-related themes.

For details of the 2007 Fair click here.

For details of the 2005 Fair click here.

For details of the 2003 Fair click here.

The 2005 Oxford Fine Press Book Fair

How to join the FPBA

If you would like to join the FPBA, please download an application form, fill it in, and return it to the address given in the form. You need this PDF form if you live in North America and this PDF form if you live outside North America.

Standard annual membership is US$48 for individuals in North America, US$60 for institutions in North America, UK£28 in the European Union, and UK£35 in the rest of the world. De luxe annual membership is US$225 in North America, UK£125 in the European Union, and UK£135 in the rest of the world.

Alternatively, please contact the relevant secretary: if you live in North America contact Sean Donnelly, giving a postal address; if you live outside North America contact Maggie Walker, giving a postal address. You will be sent a membership application form.

To contact Maggie Walker by post, write to her c/o The Whittington Press, Whittington Court, Whittington, Cheltenham GL54 4HF, UK.

How to contribute to Parenthesis

If you have ideas for an article - or articles - that would be of interest to readers of Parenthesis, please contact the Editors: either Sebastian Carter in the UK or Paul Razzell in the Americas.

How to advertise in Parenthesis

If you are a press, or a supplier to presses, or a dealer in contemporary fine printing, why not place your advert in front of one of the most focused audiences there is for contemporary fine printing? We accept a limited number of advertisements in each issue of Parenthesis.

For a rate card and contact details for advertising in Parenthesis please use this PDF file for North American issues, or this PDF file for UK issues - note that the two issues have different page sizes. The North American issue is normally in the Spring and the UK issue in the Autumn/Fall.

How to order back issues of Parenthesis

Copies of some back issues of the standard Parenthesis are available for US$30 or UK£15 each. Please check availability with Abigail Rorer if you are in the Americas, or Maggie Walker if you are outside the Americas.

We have copies of the following back issues: 4, 5, 7, 8, 9, 10 (only one), 11, 12. They are 15/US$30 each plus P&P. There is a single copy of issue 1: 50/US$100. We still have a few copies of the de luxe copies of issues 7, 9, 10, and 11 for sale. They are 75/US$150 each plus P&P. Contact Maggie Walker for further information about any of these.

How to receive the FPBA

We issue an occasional newsletter by e-mail to members, one for members of the UK chapter and one for members of the North American chapter. The newsletter is used to let members know about progress with the forthcoming issue of Parenthesis, new books published by private and fine presses, and other relevant events.

If you give us your e-mail address when you join, we will automatically add you to the circulation list. Alternatively, you can request to be added to it at any time by sending an email identifying yourself to your membership secretary (see above).

How to announce your new book to FPBA members worldwide

If you are a press (and a member) we can include a short note about your new books in the e-newsletter (see above). Just fill in the online registration form.

The form also allows you to request an entry in the next issue of Parenthesis, and in the Private Libraries Association's periodical Private Press Books.

You might like to offer a copy for review in Parenthesis.  The online registration form also allows you to make the offer. A member of the Parenthesis team will contact you to arrange it. If necessary, we can also arrange the book's return after review.

FPBA Pattern Papers

Pattern papers have long been a favoured way of covering the boards of the case-bound private press book. Sources of papers are relatively few these days, and the FPBA has produced a series of new designs which, in particular, are being used for the de luxe copies of Parenthesis.

We are making them available to members at a very reasonable price of 0.95 or US$2.00 a sheet. Given the costs of handling, the minimum order is five sheets. For ten or more sheets (which can be mixed) the price is 0.75 or US$1.50 per sheet. Postage and packing are charged at cost. Please note that these sheets are kept in and despatched from the UK. To place an order, contact Martyn Ould via the contact form at his website, specifying the designer and the colour. Stocks are limited.

To the right are thumbnails of pictures of the available patterns. Click on a thumbnail for a larger picture. The pieces in the pictures are 160mm by 120 mm (6.3 inches by 4.7 inches).

The sheets are 475mm by 635mm (18.7 inches by 25 inches) and long grain. The patterns have been printed by offset litho in black onto a coloured laid paper of a weight suitable for covering boards.

The two upper designs are by Lynn Hatzius. The two lower designs are no longer available.

These designs are all by Edwin Smith. Only the yellow paper is now available.

This page is copyright © The Fine Press Book Association 2009.
It is maintained by Robert McCamant .