How the Magnum Opus Hermetic Sourceworks series is prepared
This series of limited edition books are hand bound by Adam McLean. The binding material currently used is a high quality processed leather material called Wintan manufactured for book covers, dark tan in colour. The title of the book is gold blocked on the spine. One of the main costs in making these books is the fact that it takes two to three hours to bind up each book. These are usually done in small batches of five to ten books. The binding technique used is based on methods employed in the production of books before the industrialised case-binding process. The boards are attached to the book and the cover is then applied. I now include a decorative headband.
Why have I adopted such a labour intensive method for producing these books? Why don't I just get them printed and bound by a professional printer? The main reason for this is that the sales of these books is extremely small - only a few hundred - so the economies of scale do not apply. Many of my titles only sell 10 or so copies a year. The cost per book of having a small edition of a few hundred copies printed and bound requires a considerable investment of capital, and it is impossible to recover this capital on such small sales. If I had adopted this approach I would never have got beyond printing my first title, as I just would not have made enough money from sales to capitalise the production of another book. That is why no one else has been able to produce these specialised alchemical books.
This investment of my time means that I have to charge a high price for the volumes, and for this reason I am not able to distribute them through the book trade - thus you will never find these being sold in bookstores. Bookstores require a discount, usually over 40%, off the price, and I just cannot afford to give this. This is the reason why these books are only available by direct mail order from me. As I cannot afford the time to devote to binding up a complete edition all at once (200 books would take me months of solid work to produce) I only do these in small batches and consequently carry only a very small stock. For this reason a particular title can be unavailable for some months till I find time to bind up a batch. With over thirty titles it is a juggling act to keep the production going.
For these reasons, you can perhaps understand these books are so unusual. It is not just the material in the book, that is special, but the method of binding produces a unique and highly collecteable item. Some of my titles fetch high prices on the secondhand market - unfortunately I don't benefit from these prices!
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