Tag Archives: chapbook publishing

There’s Nothing Quite Like a Chapbook.

The tech craze saddens me. Everyone wants to buy more, more, more; to upgrade more, more, more, even when it results in faulty communication of programs inserting the wrong words and making a mess of the sender’s thoughts and intentions. I hope to continue to get by without even a basic cellular phone. I also hope to continue to get by without a Kindle or any other reader of e-books. I’m just fine with paper. I don’t think Mother Earth takes quite the loss in paper production that she suffers with waves of technology bouncing all over her surface.

It is possible that Middle Island Press will offer e-book publishing up the timeline, but I just don’t see that yet. I enjoy specializing in chapbooks. There’s a certain sense of nostalgia in “sticking to the old ways” – ways that remain superior in many ways…

There’s nothing like actually holding a book and turning pages.
There’s little as personal as receiving a book as a gift.
There’s nothing like the look, smell, and feel of a library of books both old and new.

The only thing that I find missing in chapbooks is a sort of hollowness, an emptiness, a “lack of” that I can only imagine would be present in reading from an electronic pocket device of some sort. In that, I miss nothing and gain everything in my craft of setting words to paper, in publishing and printing actual books that don’t require frequent “recharges” to guarantee a good read.


(Middle Island Press specializes in chapbook publishing. We make some of the finest chapbooks in America.)

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Posted by on November 3, 2013 in News & Reviews


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Five Tips on How To Make Perfect Chapbooks

(by Christina Anne Taylor of Middle Island Press)

I share these tips for self-publishers as well as for competitors who need guidance on how to improve their craft for the good of all. Caughtcha!

1) Begin with clean hands and a clean surface. There is nothing more grotesque than seeing smudges on paper, be they from dirt or jelly donuts. I begin with a clean table cloth and clean hands washed with a standard bar of soap that will ensure no oily residue.

2) Fold no more than two sheets of paper at a time. It’s time-consuming but a crisp crease is important, and to fold too many is to increase the likelihood of ironing wrinkles into the pages. There is no undoing wrinkles except by reprinting pages.

3) Use top-quality staples in your saddle stapler. (You do have a saddle stapler, yes?) It sounds small, but get the “premium” staples, because there is no surer way to make a new book look instantly used than by pulling staples and restapling.

4) Use a heavy-duty paper cutter (you know, the ones that begin at $130). It’s a wise investment if many chapbooks will be made. It allows you to trim three or four books at a time without books sliding toward the blade, and without deep indentations on the top and bottom books as the cutter secures the stack.

5) Use top-quality paper. 16-lb copy paper encased in 65-lb cardstock looks as cheap as it is, so please do your words a favor by packaging them in a way that shows that your words deserve respect.

Okay, make that six tips. If you feel a bit intimidated or just don’t have the time, hire an experienced subsidy publisher to do it for you. It can cost less than all materials needed to begin.

We at Middle Island Press are proud to be one of the best chapbook publishers on the Internet. We specialize in poetry.

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Posted by on May 25, 2012 in News & Reviews


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Chapbook-Publishing: Raising Integrity, Building Trust

I am on an ambitious mission to raise not only awareness of chapbooks, but also the standards by which they are crafted. The benefits would be two-fold: On one hand, readers would likely be more inclined to pick up a copy if it were crisp, substantial, containing some color and not just looking like photocopied pages stapled together. On the other hand, more authors and poets would embrace chapbooks as a vehicle for delivering their words if they were to know that they could trust the chapbook’s presentation. It’s a win-win for readers and writers, but what about the publishers? They can win, too.

Many chapbook publishers, however, showcase economy in production and manifest shortcuts in the final product. Many of them would grumble at the expense of quality paper (over ten cents per sheet), and then there is ink, and wear and tear on printers, and plenty of time spent on presentation. However, in the long run, it is not a loss, because with an exercise of integrity, what is gained is much larger than initial small profits: trust.

With integrity comes confidence that trust will be fostered and good seeds will be cultivated. With trust comes repeat business, and referrals, and growth.

There will always be new novels written, and there will always be a need for book-printers, but there is something quaint, something “made with love” about chapbooks – something that is missing entirely from full-sized books. It is the responsibility of chapbook publishers to make the chapbook reading experience as pleasant, even indulgent as possible, for the eyes as well as the mind, and the place to begin improving is with presentation.

Writers: Request that chapbook publishers lower their prices or raise their standards if they do not use at least twenty-four pound paper, and if they do not print in color, and if they do not trim the edges – gratis – for presentation’s sake! Such publishers who would not abide by standards of integrity should not be in the business to lower the standards of what should be a fine literary craft, and a high-demand reading niche.

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Posted by on September 30, 2011 in News & Reviews


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Appalachian Rivules

Middle Island press has just released Appalachian Rivules, an insightful collection by poet Raymond Neely of West Virginia. It is available through the MIP site and soon will also be available through Copies can also be purchased directly from the poet (contact for his contact information).


Posted by on September 10, 2011 in News & Reviews


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