How It’s Made: A hand-bound book

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Everything at Echo Memoirs is customized. We’re a one-stop shop, but  one-size doesn’t fit all. We fulfil orders from as small as 1 book and as large as 10,000 copies (Our largest print run? 21,500 books for Purdy’s Chocolates. Purdy’s was virtually unknown in Ontario, where they started to expand in 2007, and the book was used as an introduction to landlords and suppliers.) For large orders, we have established partnerships with printers and binders in North America and Asia. For more personal books, we take a more hands-on approach.

When we started over a decade ago, everything was done the bespoke way. We’ve always wanted to handcraft things as unique as the stories we tell. For clients who want our limited-edition service, we proudly run our own bindery. And after a three-alarm fire in our old studio left us with the decision of whether or not to keep the bindery, we made the choice quickly. The presses were rescued and we built facilities to suit our new place.

In the bindery, our clients’ books are  hand-sewn, glued and pressed by our own staff trained in the fine art and craft of hand bookbinding, a craft that requires patience and precision.

Below, our bookbinder Jill Shumka — who’s a skilled baker, too — assembles a work of art. From printing to the first reader cracking the spine, the bookbinder’s process takes seven days.

Here’s how it looks: