Amaranthine Books — The Picture of Dorian Gray

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Amaranthine Books — The Picture of Dorian Gray

Redigerat: okt 13, 2021, 12:07 pm

As most folks know, Lyra's Books and Amaranthine Books are both working on this title as their next production. This community will likely favor Lyra's Books' effort due to superior materials used (letterpress, typography, paper, binding), but I think Amaranthine deserves some spotlight as well. They are more in-line with Suntup in my opinion: bombastic, crowd-pleasing designs in-line with modern pop culture tastes.

Their showrunner, Marko Matijašević, has seemingly revealed a core portion of the title page.

Now Lyra's Books will certainly deliver another exceptional production, but I don't think the calligraphic design of this title display can be topped. Shimmering ink was made to channel the vanity of Wilde's most famous tale. This is a perfect artistic match.

Looking forward to more details on both fronts, especially in terms of aesthetics!

Redigerat: okt 13, 2021, 8:51 pm

The colour scheme, pixelation and incongruous kerning hearkens back to the days of my childhood putting together assignment cover pages in MS Word using Word Art.

The expressionless face peering out from behind the letters is also jarring, almost like a peeping Tom.

Edited to be more specific.

okt 13, 2021, 7:45 pm

>1 PatsChoice: and >2 _WishIReadMore: I do not think that I have seen someone's claim of superlativeness shat upon so pithily in this august forum.

okt 13, 2021, 7:52 pm

>3 ultrarightist: To each his own! I'm enjoying it thoroughly. Plus shimmering ink will look much better in the real world.

Redigerat: jan 25, 2022, 10:51 am

Det här meddelandet har tagits bort av dess författare.

okt 13, 2021, 8:17 pm

>5 the_bb: Fair observation—also something I'm not in love with. One could argue the simple sketch in the "P" doesn't suit the nature of the work, either. Conceptually speaking, I'm really just excited about shimmering ink being used for the title page of a novel about vanity! Thematically, it's a perfect choice IMO.

jan 27, 2022, 2:07 pm

So what does everyone think of Amaranthine's Dorian Gray?

Not a big fan of the art myself. However, the lettered concept - very impressed.

Anyone know anything about the paper they are using? Not of fan of the paper used in prior AB books.

jan 27, 2022, 2:08 pm

>7 punkzip: He mentioned in the video that the paper is saville row

jan 27, 2022, 2:10 pm

Agreed. The lettered concept is interesting. I like the idea of it being a real portrait and that it changes effect. Anyone here lettered rights holders?

jan 27, 2022, 2:10 pm

>8 Praveenna_Nagaratnam: yes but I never heard of that paper

jan 27, 2022, 2:19 pm

>9 Praveenna_Nagaratnam: I am a little nervous about the use of lenticular ink on canvas, and the mix of that and the “normal” printed pets of the portrait.

jan 27, 2022, 2:29 pm

The marbled endpapers are beautiful and much more aesthetically pleasing than the marbled papers used on the cover of the Lyra numbered edition. And, yes, I am aware they are made by the same craftswoman.

jan 27, 2022, 2:32 pm

>12 ultrarightist: Agreed. It is much more apt for dorian

jan 27, 2022, 2:34 pm

>10 punkzip: I am quite certain I’ve come across Saville Row paper recently, but an wracking my brain as to what book.

Redigerat: jan 27, 2022, 2:39 pm

I suspect that there will be very few if any lettered books available outside the rights system. It's hard to imagine too many people who would pay close to $5000 for Alice passing on this. I didn't see any mention of a lettered lottery - will there be a lottery or will it be a speed test?

jan 27, 2022, 2:42 pm

This is Savile Row paper. The name comes from it having a "fabric" feel apparently.

Redigerat: jan 27, 2022, 2:55 pm

For some reason I couldn't find a link to the book, and when I did a google search it brought me back to this here thread... SO, found it, here it is

The standard edition is over $100 less than Lyra's edition, but of course Lyra's edition is letterpress - for some like me, the difference between letterpress and offset is like night and day. That said, I think the AB production is a beautiful (offset printed) book.

Redigerat: jan 27, 2022, 3:12 pm

>17 astropi: Those prices are higher than what was quoted on the video. Maybe VAT is included? In fact, when I click on the links I get lower prices. I have the numbered about $150 less than Lyra's. I think the Lyra's is quite a good value for the materials, particularly as it uses mouldmade (you'd often get Mohawk Superfine in this price range). I have the lettered coming in around $335 less than Lyra's. I do think the AB lettered feels more "special" than the Lyra's lettered which would be the primary consideration for me in that price range.

Redigerat: jan 27, 2022, 3:15 pm

The lettered edition’s cover reminds me of X-Men 25, with the holographic image of the adamantium being pulled out of Wolverine by Magneto; anyone else?

The marbling is amazing, for both editions.

Personally, this kind of approach to bookmaking is not appealing to me, but I think those who are already fans of AB will be excited, and the reaction on FB seems quite positive, which is great.

Redigerat: jan 27, 2022, 3:14 pm

>17 astropi: Not a fan. The marbling is nice though. The picture frame Lettered reminds me of a Suntup. Cheesy. Super bummed with this one, and Lyra's.

Redigerat: jan 27, 2022, 3:21 pm

My two cents:
1) I love the lettered edition concept
2) I love the marbled endpapers - better than the ones on the cover of the Lyra Dorian
3) I like the boards/spine of the AB numbered better than than the Lyra’s version
4) I prefer the Lyra ornamental drop caps to the AB shimmering ink ones
5) I like the Lyra blocked slipcase better than the AB capped one
6) Phil’s letterpress printing, the mouldmade paper, and the tipped in illustrations are points for Lyra (for me, anyway) - but at a cost of ~$150 more (for a US buyer)
7) I prefer the Lyra illustrations

I think, at the end of the day, my ideal numbered edition would be the Lyra text block and slipcase with the AB boards/spine and endpapers - and the AB price :)

jan 27, 2022, 3:35 pm

>21 jsg1976: Great analysis. I give Lyra's numbered the edge because of the materials quality (as you mention you also pay more for this) but I give ABs lettered a strong edge over the Lyra's lettered.

Redigerat: jan 27, 2022, 4:01 pm

What a disappointment. I’ll pass. I absolutely hated illustrations. Marco probably thinks that he can add letterpress and marble pages and charge over 2k. This is not a rare, first edition book that command price like that. Illustrations are average at best. Looks like some toy for kids to play. Very cheesy and waaaay overpriced for what it is. Won’t even talk about the numbered edition. Very bad design

Redigerat: jan 27, 2022, 3:53 pm

>20 Undergroundman: You are not alone in finding the picture frame case/hang your book on the wall as a portrait concept gimmicky and rather silly. Even more so in a book one might spend thousands on? It reminds me of the beehive Dracula suitcases, albeit much better execution and not quite so silly, but those are at a much lower price point.

And the same goes for the “sparkling” green cloth on the numbered, the sparkling case, and the mirror bookmark. The shimmering ink too. Just not for me.

Having a career as a traditional hand-crafter myself (in a very different field), I suppose I place more emphasis on those aspects than the new and innovative/gimmicky concepts as far as the book arts go. Just my own personal taste though.

I do absolutely love the marbled endpapers though (the white “polka dots” on the numbered Lyra’s marbling ruin otherwise pleasing marbling imo). And the illustrations are even if I much prefer what I’ve seen of Lyra’s illustrations thus far.

Redigerat: jan 27, 2022, 4:19 pm

>24 GhostOfKasparHauser: Put yourself in ABs shoes. They obviously won't be producing a lettered full leather, leatherpress book in a solander, because it's fairly obvious that Lyra's would be doing something like that. So they essentially had to come up with a creative concept. Perhaps you and others may consider it gimmicky, tacky, cheesy or whatever but of course that's just subjective. Perhaps someone here has a better creative concept, rather than just saying imitate Lyra's, which would be certain to fail in direct competition? If so, what is your creative concept? For me, the creative concept was perfect as it is something that would only work with the specific book. If you are spending thousands for a new lettered book, I take it as a given that the materials cost won't justify your purchase. Certainly, for Lyra's lettered, the full leather, slightly better mouldmade paper, solander instead of slipcase and original drawing aren't close to being worth the $2250 premium. So before I make a purchase in the lettered price range, I ask myself, why is this special? I think the AB lettered Dorian feels special.

jan 27, 2022, 4:19 pm

>25 punkzip: But I could say the same when you say you feel the Suntup Handmaid’s Tale lettered and this AB lettered are more special than the Lyra’s, right? It’s all subjective. Personally, I don’t find this one particularly special.

To be fair, I find this one far better than the awful scrabble tile Suntup with its few illustrations that aren’t particularly nice or fitting imo. All the same, for me the concept here is tacky and gimmicky in something that costs $2000+. Not to mention the illustrations - while I find them pleasing - are not a selling point as something special unlike the Lyra’s illustrations.

And yes, you are correct, the Lyra’s materials do not justify the cost alone. The far superior craftsmanship, however, does justify it imo. And I quite love the aesthetic and its traditional, artisan beauty that I find suits the work entirely. The artwork looks like it shall be sublime. Those things make books special to me. Not so much author signatures, creative concepts (or gimmicks in some opinions), and the like. Anyways. We all have different tastes. I can understand why others disagree and find this edition special. You explain your thoughts on the matter well.

jan 27, 2022, 4:24 pm

>24 GhostOfKasparHauser: "the white “polka dots” on the numbered Lyra’s marbling ruin otherwise pleasing marbling imo"

My thoughts exactly

Redigerat: jan 27, 2022, 4:30 pm

>26 GhostOfKasparHauser: Actually the reason I think the lettered Suntup's Handmaid's Tale is much more special than the lettered Dorian Gray is that it is a 26 limitation state signed copyrighted famous book. It's quite unlikely that we will see another 26 limitation signed Handmaid's Tale. Dorian Gray, in any version, is just a public domain book which anyone can produce limited editions of. That alone to me makes a lettered Handmaid's far more special than any lettered Dorian Gray. I actually don't like the Suntup illustrations much either and am neutral about the Scrabble tiles. The subjective part is that I like Handmaid's Tale as a book quite a bit more than Dorian Gray.

Also I was referring to the premium of the lettered Lyra's over the numbered Lyra's -which is $2250. Hopefully the numbered Lyra's is also very well crafted - I'm definitely buying it.

jan 27, 2022, 4:34 pm

>28 punkzip: That’s fair. Personally I like Dorian Gray substantially more than Handmaid’s Tale. I quite dislike Atwood’s writing style even if she is a fellow Canadian. I’m in a minority there though which I recognize.

For me, signatures, living author vs deceased, and the public domain vs copyrighted… those things don’t play any part in making a book special. While they add monetary value on the market, I don’t have any plans to sell the books I buy… or care much about what they do on the market after the limitation is sold.

To each their own though. We just place emphasis on different aspects of fine press books. :)

Redigerat: jan 27, 2022, 4:54 pm

>29 GhostOfKasparHauser: Perhaps you're in the minority, but certainly not the only one :)

To be fair, I have not yet read Handmaid's Tale, so I have no opinion at the moment. Also, if people really are calling her a "once in a lifetime author" then I am going to laugh...

jan 27, 2022, 5:21 pm

>30 astropi: I don't enjoy her prose as much as Le Guin, Mieville, etc. sure - but that doesn't make at least pieces of her writing any less "prophetic" so to speak, and popularity doesn't really play into that, nor was she in any way obscure before the Hulu show.

jan 27, 2022, 5:42 pm

>7 punkzip: The paper of the numbered edition looks sooo thin...

jan 27, 2022, 5:52 pm

>30 astropi:

I think my grandfather introduced this particular criticism into my mind a couple decades ago when I was an adolescent, but it stuck. The worst aspect of her novels is that she has zero ability to write anything but cardboard cutout male characters. Villain or not, they have zero depth.

It’s my main criticism of Haruki Murakami too, although with the opposite sex. The female characters he writes are ridiculous and silly.

jan 27, 2022, 5:55 pm

>33 GhostOfKasparHauser: That tends to be my criticism of every Stephen King book I've read. It seems that apart from children, his characters be they male or female, are cardboard cutouts.

jan 27, 2022, 5:59 pm

>34 astropi: I’m right with you there. I gave up on Stephen King years ago. Interesting plots, dreadful characters.

Redigerat: jan 27, 2022, 9:01 pm

As an fun exercise, we can try to predict how many AB rights holders will exercise their rights. For comparison 77% of Lyra's lettered and 74% of numbered rights holders exercised their rights (remarkably similar) - of course this may be skewed by the transition from Gaiman to Dorian. I'm going to predict that there will be 1-2 lettered copies left as it is hard to imagine that too many lettered rights holders who bought Alice (which was much more expensive) would turn down the lettered which IMO is a great creative concept. I'm having a lot more difficulty guessing the numbered percentage as it's complicated by the competing Lyra's numbered public sale happening at the same time.. it is less expensive than Lyra's version though and less of a transition from Alice to Dorian ...maybe around 75-80%?

jan 28, 2022, 1:00 am

There are people who hold rights for both numbered and lettered editions and bought both. Impressive!

jan 28, 2022, 2:59 am

I think the lettered will be close to a sell out.. maybe 90%... the numbered maybe 70% as I have recently seen quite a few Alice for sale

jan 28, 2022, 5:56 am

Great idea for the "Portrait Edition," but still, letterpress is a must for me at books at this price range.

jan 28, 2022, 6:06 am

Detta konto har stängts av för spammande.

jan 28, 2022, 8:55 am

>38 Praveenna_Nagaratnam: I just saw that Marko posted on the FB page that quite a few people who bought Alice from resellers did not even register their rights, so these numbers will automatically be in the public sale.

jan 28, 2022, 9:58 am

I actually like both concepts, but the price is too high for what you get in my opinion. About half that for the numbered would work for me, not this.

Redigerat: jan 28, 2022, 2:33 pm

>42 SF-72: my opinion exactly, except that I did not like their numbered or lettered

jan 28, 2022, 2:41 pm

>42 SF-72: I almost wonder if the Numebered is the more expensive book to produce, excluding the frame / box of course.

The lettered is larger, likely with more expensive marbling, but the hand-painted cover art on the numered and the fact they use the same paper and printing must have them pretty close.

jan 28, 2022, 2:56 pm

>44 NathanOv: lettered is calfskin and uses 160 vs 100 gsm paper

jan 28, 2022, 3:01 pm

>44 NathanOv: The paper thickness is also different. The lettered is 140g and the numbered 100g. I do also think that seeing as he used a ?relatively unknown artist for the cover art - it may not have been expensive?

Redigerat: jan 28, 2022, 4:07 pm

>45 punkzip: >46 Praveenna_Nagaratnam: ah I’d missed the different paper thickness! I’d be surprised if the bindings were significantly different costs, but I guess leather can vary quite a lot.

Hopefully he is paying the artist well, but I guess you’re right - people do oil & water color copies for less than $30 each so maybe that is not a huge part of the cost.

jan 28, 2022, 4:01 pm

Palladio's Homes by The Old School Press also has unique hand painted bindings which are protected by a chemise but no slipcase; though, I made one for my copy.

Redigerat: jan 28, 2022, 4:47 pm

>46 Praveenna_Nagaratnam: "unknown but world-class" quoting No Reply ;)

Redigerat: jan 29, 2022, 2:03 pm

Det här meddelandet har tagits bort av dess författare.

Redigerat: jan 29, 2022, 9:19 pm

Det här meddelandet har tagits bort av dess författare.

Redigerat: jan 30, 2022, 8:16 pm

Is anyone planning to enter the lettered lottery?

feb 1, 2022, 1:27 pm

I'm in for a numbered copy. A little skeptical about the price but Dorian Gray has a special place in my heart. And I love just about every aesthetic choice they've made (with the exception of the bookmark) so I couldn't pass it up. I doubt I'll get Frankenstein/Catch-22 if they're the same price for the same quality, though.

Redigerat: feb 2, 2022, 4:09 pm

Well 8 entries for 6 lettered copies was quite the close race!

It almost makes you feel worse for the ones who missed out, though if as many people pass as seems to be the case in other recent lotteries, probably everyone who wants a lettered is getting one.

apr 11, 2022, 12:21 pm

Looks like the Peacock edition may be shipping next week.

apr 12, 2022, 4:00 pm

Well, some exciting news from Amaranthine Press - they're in the process of acquiring a Heidelberg! Looks like the change will come after Frankenstein unfortunately, but very exciting news nonetheless.

apr 12, 2022, 5:48 pm

>56 NathanOv: I came here to post this exact update :) very exciting indeed

apr 12, 2022, 6:58 pm

Where are you seeing these updates? I don't see anything on Instagram/Twitter/Facebook/the website.

Redigerat: apr 12, 2022, 7:30 pm

>58 jskalitz: It is on Amaranthine's Facebook fan page

apr 19, 2022, 12:51 am

>2 _WishIReadMore: This is the funniest comment on the website.

maj 12, 2022, 6:57 pm

Peacock Edition #16 arrived in the mail today. Quite pleased with how everything looks in person, and pleasantly surprised by how nice the gilt edges look (I was a little skeptical of them). Looks like Dorian Gray is top of my reading list for the weekend.

maj 13, 2022, 1:44 am

>62 jskalitz: Just opened mine, and I am *thrilled!* I am new to the whole concept of fine presses, and this is literally the nicest edition I own. They really outdid themselves with the design concept and production.

I also appreciated the insert about how to break in the binding--I didn't know!

maj 24, 2022, 7:13 am

From their FB page:
'By the looks of it, we're pushing Catch-22 to early 2023 so we could have a proper attempt at doing a letterpress edition. '

Depending on whether the design elements gel for me, that might well be my first Amaranthine book.

maj 24, 2022, 12:40 pm

And there's some Sherlock Holmes in the pipeline as well. I'm skeptical I'll end up buying it just due to budget constraints but I am loving their book selections so far.

maj 24, 2022, 3:40 pm

>65 jskalitz: I'm incredibly happy they're going letterpress, and very much looking forward to what they do with Frankenstein even if that one'll be offset, but this Sherlock collection is a bit of a headscratcher for me.

It's essentially a redo of Thornwillow's Sherlock Holmes Hexology, albeit with an extra six stories. Id've preferred a collection with more of a theme, or another more gothic work in keeping with their first 4 titles.

maj 24, 2022, 3:52 pm

>66 NathanOv: Do you have the list of the stories planned for the Sherlock Holmes volume? I'm not on social media (and dislike it when presses only announce these things there and not on their own dang sites). It does sound a bit of a missed opportunity from what you've said already. I already have Thornwillow's Hexology, so if this doesn't substantially improve upon that it won't be a draw for me.

maj 24, 2022, 4:00 pm

>67 Shadekeep: It's not on social media, but they're doing Arthur Conan Doyle's "12 favourite stories" which is a list he himself had published in The Strand.

Thornwillow's Hexology was also drawn from this list, though they only did the first six.

Redigerat: maj 24, 2022, 4:06 pm

>68 NathanOv: Thanks! And I gather that the original announcement of a Holmes book was on social media, since I've yet to find it on Amaranthine's website. Or was it in their newsletter? I haven't signed up for that yet.

I thought it might be that particular dozen, since it's half-duplicative of the hexology. I guess it will depend on what they do with it to see if it ends up being a compelling acquisition for me.

maj 24, 2022, 4:07 pm

>69 Shadekeep: Sorry, yes the book announcement itself was via their facebook page. I too wish they were better about circulating news via email since I've missed several announcements.

Redigerat: maj 24, 2022, 4:41 pm

>70 NathanOv: Thanks again, I've signed up for their newsletter now. Hopefully that will give me a bit more forewarning of new and forthcoming releases.