With the desktop publishing revolution in full swing, the lines between large scale commercial and in-house one-off printing have blurred to a point of near indistinguish-ability. The ease of ripping off of color print on an Epson ink jet that rivals a four color traditional offset press is truly amazing. What then would possess anyone to want to use 500 year old technology to laboriously typeset and print by hand? This book should answer that question and validate anyone who has the desire to get their fingers inky and become involved in every aspect of "making" a printed piece or book.
The book covers the range of "fine press" vs. "craft" vs. art vs. design. Without taking a stance on which approach is the most proper to letterpress printing, Jury covers the historical bases and inspires simply by describing and showing examples.
A book that discusses a particular printing process without actually demonstrating it would seem to be a wasted opportunity. A letterpressed dust jacket or title page would be a welcome extravagance, but such expense is exactly the reason letterpress printing is a scare commodity these days. Luckily this book has plenty of quality photos of examples letterpress printing—from fine press to avant garde experimentation.
The experience of seeing, holding and even smelling a letterpress printed book almost makes the content secondary. When the hand of the artist/designer/printer is evident and the choice of paper/ink/type/size is clearly a decision of intent and not convenience, you can really appreciate the craft. Perhaps it is the tactile nature of letterpress and the fact that it can never be digitally imitated that makes it, as Jury says "so old its new"
This book is not a manual or how to book at all. It is however an excellent primer on the world of letterpress printing and inspirational to anyone contemplating hand setting and printing their own work.