Poll: Edition Numbering

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Poll: Edition Numbering

okt 25, 2022, 2:00 pm

Management is trying to determine the best way to assign copy numbers once ordering begins. We have received several emails already requesting that numbers be put aside in advance. Clearly, this issue is important to some members, and our process should therefore be transparent and member-approved.

Here's a proposal:

1. Each member, when purchasing the edition, will list their preferred copy numbers and/or indicate that they prefer the lowest number available. For example:

"7, 17, 77"
"Lowest Available"
"7, 17, 77 or Lowest Available"

2. The runners-up in the second round will receive their choice (if available) in the order that their proposal was ranked.

3. All other members will receive their choice (if available) in the order that they purchased the edition.

Rösta: Do you approve of this process change?

Nuvarande ställning: Ja 29, Nej 3
As this isn't a change to the rules, but guidance for management, there isn't any quorum requirement.

okt 25, 2022, 2:07 pm

It took me a minute to decode this, but I think I have it. Step 1 merely states how number preferences are to be stated, whereas Step 2 and 3 are the logic by which those preferences are disbursed. Correct?

okt 25, 2022, 2:39 pm

Assuming that the purchase window is a limited period of time, I'd propose that the preferences of the "other members" be honored in a random order rather than in the order that they be purchased the edition. The purchasing members' names would be each assigned a random number from 1-X, and numbers would be assigned in that order according to their preferences.

okt 26, 2022, 12:14 am

I voted yes because this sounds like a fine way to navigate competing interests.

Honest question though for more experienced collectors or those with clear preferences: what are the reasons that people tend to care what number they have?

e.g., is it an aesthetic consideration such that you like some numbers more than others or some numbers overlap with other editions you own? Or is it that lower numbers seem/are more important/valuable? Or is it something else I'm missing?

okt 26, 2022, 12:56 am

>4 allbummereverything: I always choose 44 when I have the option. Once one gets started with a particular number it’s fun to keep it. Long ago I chose 44 because it was the number for a San Francisco Giant’s baseball player named Willie McCovey (my home team) not to mention Reggie Jackson across the bay or indeed Hank Aaron. I have many limited edition books with the number 44 at this point. Also, for books, most people like to grab low numbers so one through ten have high demand. 44 is sort of innocuous and thus easier for me to get plus most editions have more than 44 copies.

okt 26, 2022, 1:58 am

>2 Shadekeep: Correct.

okt 26, 2022, 3:55 am

Interesting. I have no attachment to any particular number. Well, different strokes for different folks!

okt 26, 2022, 3:57 am

I don't particularly care which number I receive (although, if pressed, I would ask for 25), but I do like receiving the same number from the publisher to give a sense of continuity. 'Membership,' if you like.

okt 26, 2022, 7:10 am

>8 gmacaree: My thinking is much the same. I don't have one number that I must get, but continuity among the books from a single publisher is a neat trick.

okt 26, 2022, 7:28 am

As the number of copies produced may be significantly lower for one book than the previous book depending on how many people drop out of the press in any given round, how do you see continuity of number working? Non-sequential numbering? Or is the person with number 84 just out of luck on continuity if only 63 people want the next book?

okt 26, 2022, 7:34 am

I tend to go for 16 for a number (ha!) of reasons, but being a low number it's not always available. It is my standing reservation number at No Reply Press however, so that's what I get from them on subscribed titles. But overall I'm not particularly concerned what number I get. And I think it can be just as much fun to have the last in the limitation as the first.

okt 26, 2022, 7:41 am

>11 Shadekeep:
I've only managed this once getting number 300 of 300 copies of the LEC Seven Years in Tibet. I agree, it is rather cool!

okt 26, 2022, 8:16 am

Perhaps issue membership numbers to the 176 initial members. New members would be issued subsequent numbers (providing a vanity to "founding members" particularly).

Copies would be designated as "member copies" with that member's number independent of the copy number. Any copies made available outside the membership would be designated and numbered independently.

okt 26, 2022, 8:20 am

>12 wcarter: Nice! Off the top of my head, the only last volume I have is 50 (of 50) of Aliquando's The Light-house. I suspect it's easier to land the last copy of a short-run private press title like that than something put out by the LEC!

okt 26, 2022, 8:21 am

I usually get number 13 for my Thornwillow and No Reply Press books when possible. I like the idea of having the same number for the books, but in the end I would rather get any book of a limited edition than to insist of certain number and don't get a book at all. I think numbers are more important when the plates/wood block/lino degrade during the printing of a large number of prints, but with this edition size I don't think that matters.

Redigerat: okt 26, 2022, 11:10 am

How will the 'lowest available' mechanic work? In the below situation, which outcome will occur:

- Customer #1 elects for copy 2, 3 or 4.
- Customer #2 elects for lowest available.
- Customer #3 elects for copy 2, 3 or 4.

Outcome 1:
- #1 gets copy 2
- #2 gets copy 3 (lowest available at their point in the queue)
- #3 gets copy 4

Outcome 2:
- #1 gets copy 2
- #2 gets copy 4 (lowest available with all specific number preferences accounted for)
- #3 gets copy 3

okt 26, 2022, 11:25 am

I have no preference as to which number I receive. As one of the "other members", I'm happy to be assigned a random number from those left once others have chosen their favourites.

Redigerat: okt 26, 2022, 11:29 am

>5 kdweber: thanks. That makes sense.
So what I'm hearing is I should ask for #44 or 16....just kidding. I think I should resist the temptation of developing a preference here if I don't already have one.

okt 26, 2022, 11:58 am

>4 allbummereverything: In fine art print collecting, it's widely believed that lower numbers are more valuable. This attitude has sort of spilled over into limited edition book collecting as well. Other numbers tend to be attractive, too. In an edition of 1,000, I'd imagine that #12 or #500 would sell faster on the secondary market (and perhaps for more) than #782 or #346.

I don't know any collector for whom a specific number is a sine qua non, but plenty have a preference.

okt 26, 2022, 12:00 pm

I have no preference in number.

okt 26, 2022, 12:46 pm

>13 jdanielpowell: This, I think, is actually the way to go. For each book, preserve #1 for the proposer. Beyond that, numbers 2-177 will be pre-assigned to each of the initial members in some fair fashion independent of their initial proposal's success (since this number would be allocated for multiple volumes). Some potential methods of allocation:
(1) Random number generator: A random number generator spits out an order of selection, and persons are contacted in that order to select that number. I believe this can be automated so that it's not labor-intensive; would be happy to look into it.
(2) Order determined by temporality: Persons are contacted in the order in which they submitted their request to join the Press to select their number.
(3) Number determined by temporality: Persons are assigned numbers in the order in which they submitted their request to join the Press. Persons may arrange trades of their numbers, but the numbers are otherwise a reflection of a Press-specific coincidence rather than purchaser's choice.

In any instance, the numbers would be made available for each volume no matter the limitation, so the participant assigned number 177 would always be able to receive 177 even if only 100 copies are printed. This information could be reflected in the colophon, if one wanted to have fun with it.

okt 26, 2022, 2:01 pm

I think the proposer should get number 1. Numbers 2-10 are given to the other finalists in the order their suggestions ranked in round 2. Every other number is dictated by the proposers finishing position in round 1. Every copy is therefore a record of the proposer, and if one wants a lower number more effort in an idea will increase a chance of this

Redigerat: okt 26, 2022, 2:05 pm

>22 DMulvee: I had the same thought at first, but unfortunately too many round one ties!

IMO, no need to complicate things - might as well let members who want request numbers, and honor them in the order they’re received (essentially as management is proposing)

okt 26, 2022, 2:11 pm

>22 DMulvee: >23 NathanOv: I considered something like this as well, but ultimately I think it does complicate things a bit. Also, I think there are plenty of wonderful proposals that did poorly in Round #1 simply because tastes differ. What management is proposing seems to me an elegant solution. The Round #2 proposers are given priority less as a "prize" for being popular, and more as a "thank you" for the additional effort in expanding their proposals. After that, it's first come first served.

okt 26, 2022, 2:13 pm

With a smallish group, and assuming polymer plates, it wouldn't be hard, either, to print the name of the member on the colophon.

Redigerat: okt 26, 2022, 2:17 pm

>25 grifgon: I don’t personally love seeing my name on things, and have turned down the option for Thornwillow and Tallone, but initials could be another option.

okt 26, 2022, 2:20 pm

>25 grifgon: Hah - that would give future generations additional ways to structure a collection: books issued to North Americans; or to convicted felons; or to members whose surnames begin with a particular letter. Oh, the fun they’ll have! ;-)

okt 26, 2022, 2:23 pm

>22 DMulvee: I suspect most members would prefer a consistent number for each copy (except perhaps with copy "1" for the proposer) instead of a number that varies based on proposal rankings for that edition. For example, if I have copy 41 for this edition, I would prefer that again for the next edition even if my proposal had advanced to round 2 for it.

>26 NathanOv: I agree. A pseudo-anonymous member number is fine, but I strongly prefer not to have personalizations with my name, etc.

okt 26, 2022, 2:25 pm

>25 grifgon: I was actually thinking about this — my copy of Nineteen Eighty-Four will be initialled rater than numbered, a prospect I find very exciting.

okt 26, 2022, 2:29 pm

A big problem in numbering according to proposal ranking is that most proposals don't have a unique number of votes, which would make assignment quite cumbersome.

okt 26, 2022, 2:44 pm

I think if we can reach consensus on a title, we're a civil enough group to reach consensus on our number choices. I say the proposed solution is fine, and really just let folks state their number(s) of interest and resolve any conflicts as they arise. It's not like a computer program where the logic flow has to work in advance of the process.

Very much not a fan of my name on the colophon, though the name of whoever proposed the title should certainly be in there. I think it will be, from what I recall of the rules. Bookplates a whole other thing, however, and happy if those are part of the production run. Even if I don't adhere it but simply lay it in the volume.

Redigerat: okt 26, 2022, 3:39 pm

I'm also opposed to my name in the colophon (or bookplates for that matter). I tend to think of a book as a standalone valuable object that often exists before and after entering into a unique relationship with an owner. I find it unpleasant to think about the next person who has the book (maybe in 50-60 years) having to have the ghost of my ownership present in their viewing and ownership of the book.

okt 26, 2022, 3:44 pm

>25 grifgon: Just for fun, here's example of a personalized colophon in a special copy from Gruffyground/Rampant Lions Press: https://www.abebooks.com/servlet/BookDetailsPL?bi=833352177

Redigerat: okt 26, 2022, 3:48 pm

>33 kermaier: While I'd buy the "Anthony Baker" copy in a heartbeat, I'm not particularly interested in having a "Nathan O." copy.

Redigerat: okt 26, 2022, 3:53 pm

>34 NathanOv: Indeed. :-)
Edit: Did you look closely at the linked book? It's the Anthony Baker copy...

okt 26, 2022, 3:53 pm

>34 NathanOv: Yes, that's kind of a special case, there. Like allbummereverything, I have little desire to haunt the future owners of any books in my collection. My mention of bookplates was merely as art objects, and as I said, I wouldn't stick it to the book (I cringe at damaging the book that way); at most I'd lay it in.

By the way, thanks kermaier for the link! I was just asking in another thread if there were examples of Plantin being used in fine press, and lo, this very book is one.

okt 26, 2022, 3:54 pm

>33 kermaier: Huh! Interesting that Mr. Baker's own copy is for sale. Or maybe the "remainder" were all printed for him... chestnutpress Do you know?

Redigerat: okt 26, 2022, 3:58 pm

>36 Shadekeep: I, too, generally dislike having random owners' bookplates in the books in my collection, with the occasional rare exception: I have a copy of Poe's "The Pit and the Pendulum" with wood engravings by John DePol that has DePol's ex-libris on the front paste-down. :-)

okt 26, 2022, 3:59 pm

Pint and the Pendulum? It comes in pints???

okt 26, 2022, 4:02 pm

>39 Glacierman: Grrrr. Fixed that. Though it might be a good name for a horror-themed pub....

okt 26, 2022, 4:08 pm

>38 kermaier: I agree on this front. Some of the favorite books in my collection have bookplates or inscriptions to/from the contributors. The first that comes to mind is that I have Rev. Gomes' own copy (#2 / 950) of Thornwillow's Gomes Book of Good Graces . It belongs in an institutional collection, and eventually I'll turn it over, but for now it's happily mine.

okt 26, 2022, 4:12 pm

>38 kermaier: Oh yes, that's a good one! And I'm not entirely adverse to this this copy of John Sladek's Blood and Gingerbread, which is from the library of Anne McCaffrey. :)


That kind of historical provenance is a different thing, really. Oh, and I agree, "The Pint and the Pendulum" is a superb pub name.

okt 26, 2022, 9:16 pm

I am not partial to any particular number, but I do like >13 jdanielpowell: proposal

okt 26, 2022, 10:14 pm

Any number is fine by me.

okt 29, 2022, 2:43 am

>37 grifgon: Anthony was displeased with the bindings of those specials so he felt no desire to keep his copy. He did have a spare ad personam colophon sheet and so had another set bound in an identical style by another binder. That one is to his satisfaction and sits on his shelf.

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