In Praise of Hamish MacDonald

Earlier in the week I put out a call on Twitter for pointers to book-binding intelligence on Prince Edward Island; I’ve been loaned a collection of letterpress cuts and want to experiment with printing them and making some sort of book from the result.

Almost immediately came a pointer to Hamish MacDonald, and expatriate Islander living in Scotland.


Among (many) other things, Hamish is the producer of the DIY Book podcast which is about as wonderful a resource as you could ever hope to find if you’re someone in my position: a common-sense introduction to writing, printing and hand-producing your own books. Episode 17, for example, is a video episode titled “Perfect Binding (Or as Close as We Can Get)” and it’s a simple step-by-step walk through the process of making paperbacks.

MacDonald is a born presenter: calm, witty, and understanding of the position of a complete beginner to the process, filling in just the right about of detail and yet moving things along at a compelling clip.

I had no choice to but to rush out to Michaels last night and buy some white glue (Martha Stewart brand!) and some cover stock, and I glued up my first book this morning, a simple “blank book” with a bumpy blue cover and pink insides:

My First Book