TLDR: We are publishing a letterpress and handbound edition of Edgar Allan Poe’s masterpiece, The Masque of the Red Death. We are printing Harry Clarke’s marvelous illustrations in a new way to celebrate their centennial. Pledge to support fine bookmaking in the twenty-first century!
Books are our most important objects. They pass our creative spirit from hand to hand, inspiring as they go. Yet, as reading itself becomes less common, the art of bookmaking has faded in the public consciousness.
No Reply Press was founded in 2019 by a group of young craftspeople hoping to do our part to reverse the trend. Our mission is to wed great literature to the world’s finest traditions of bookmaking.
Each book is printed letterpress on a hand-operated machine and painstakingly bound by hand. In the end, the result is thrilling. When you hold our books, you hold many hours of work and years of hard-won craftsmanship.
While we strive for the finest in bookmaking, we hope to make our work as accessible as possible. A typical fine press publication runs into the hundreds (even thousands) of dollars. With your support, we want to publish an affordable edition without sacrificing the craft and care that goes into each book.
We hope you will join us.
If you have any questions at all or just want to talk about what we do, reach out — we can’t wait to hear from you!
– The No Reply Team (Cameron, Natalie, Anna, Sam, Griffin, Alex, Reed, Valeria, and Odysseus the dog)
Edgar Allan Poe is less widely read than he once was. The flavor of his macabre permeates our popular culture, but his actual stories are increasingly ignored in classrooms and on the casual reader’s bookshelf. This is a crying shame! They are thrilling, heartbreaking, beautifully written, and most of all, starkly original.
As one scholar put it, “Whether or not America has produced a greater genius than Poe, it would be hard to prove that it has produced one more original.”
This quintessentially American author is important in light of a quintessentially American problem. The Masque of the Red Death tells the story of the rich and powerful, who cloister themselves away from the masses. It is a story of wealth and poverty, extravagance and hubris. It is a story, in other words, for this political moment.
Moreover, it is a good story — a page turner that hurtles toward a dramatic end.
We are thrilled to bring this masterpiece back to life with a new fine edition.
Masterful illustrations, printed beautifully:
In 1919, Harry Clarke illustrated many of Poe’s stories. They remain, we believe, the best visual representation of Poe’s works to-date.
To celebrate the centennial of Clarke’s work, we are bringing his illustration of The Masque of the Red Death back to print, in a new arrangement. The artwork has been recast in several letterpress plates (each to reveal razor sharp detail) and pressed atop red panels. The effect complements the text and, we hope, will bring renewed attention to Clarke’s genius as an illustrator.
Fine bookmaking in 2020:
Our books are printed letterpress. This means that they are made from plates and individual pieces of metal type, arranged and inked, then pressed into paper on a cylinder press. Unlike with larger letterpress machines which operate automatically, each page is printed individually by human hands.
The process is wildly slower than digital printing but, we believe, the results are wildly better. You can feel the impression of each word under your fingers and see the force with which each letter struck the page.
We craft each book individually by hand.
But letterpress printing is just one piece of the story. A hundred tiny steps go into a handmade book. There are sheets to fold, threads to snip, boards to cut with no margin for error, glues and inks to mix, covers to bind, books to press under an anvil, messes to make and clean up — and on and on.
A limited edition.
This is a limited edition — if we reach our goal, only a hundred copies will ever exist. The limitation may grow if we exceed our goal, but once the campaign ends, the edition is set. Arrangements have been made with some of the great collections in the world — from the Butler Library at Columbia University to the Houghton at Harvard — to archive copies. We hope you will add one to your collection as well.
Each book is numbered by hand. In this way, each carries a unique identity. When the campaign is over, we ask for your top choices of number. Imagine, for example, giving Copy No. 24 as a 24th birthday present.
Every detail matters.
At No Reply we pride ourselves on the details! Moreover, we are eager to earn your support. This edition will only come to life if we work together. Therefore, to celebrate our shared effort:
- Each subscriber will receive a handmade bookmark, regardless of tier
- Each subscriber will be included on the subscribers list, regardless of tier
- Each subscriber at the Hardbound tier and above will receive a typewritten thank you note, posted in the mail within days of their pledge
- Each book will be individually packaged with the recipient’s name on it, ready-made to be given as a gift or simply ready for a glorious unwrapping
Edition limited to between 100 and 400 copies.
Every book is entirely handmade and printed letterpress. However, we are offering several “states,” each with a different binding and rarity. All prices increase by roughly fifty percent after the campaign, so reserve your copy now!
Paperbound | $35
- Bound in handmade paste paper with a letterpress label
- Each book is numbered somewhere between No. 6 and the edition limit
Hardbound | $65
- Hardbound in handmade paste paper boards with a letterpress label
- Flat spine with letterpress label and a crisp hinge
- Each book is numbered somewhere between No. 6 and the edition limit
De Luxe | Starting at $345 | Limited to 26 copies
- Bound in fine leather with raised bands and handmade paste paper boards
- Rounded spine with a gold label
- Handmade paste paper endpapers
- Limited to 26 copies
- Books lettered A through Z (reach out to reserve your letter in advance)
De Morte | $965 | Limited to only 5 copies
- Bound in fine leather with raised bands and handmade marbled boards
- Rounded spine with a gold label
- Handmade marbled endpapers
- Limited to only 5 copies
- Books numbered No. 1 through 5 (reach out to reserve your number in advance)
- Includes a complimentary hardbound copy
And for patrons of the arts,
For those interested in being a true patron of the arts, you can make an enormous impact on our Press by supporting our work in the following ways:
First, by subscribing to the No. 1 copy of the edition. Each copy is numbered, and so the very first copy of an edition takes on enormous importance. These copies are usually held by the Press itself, and eventually given to a Museum or permanent collection. However, we are offering the No. 1 copy (in the De Morte binding) for a patron interested in making an outsized impact on our work.
Second, by working with us to underwrite the creation of a new edition entirely. We are always delighted to collaborate with patrons to bring a work you care about to a fine press edition. Whether you want to give a classic text the fine press treatment, publish your own poetry, or bring to life the short story of an undiscovered genius — we’re all ears.
The work should be limited to 3,000-or-so words, and you will receive 200 copies of the edition. Please see this option in the rewards panel for more detail, and reach out if you have any questions!
Add ons! Get more books . . .
Need more books than are in your tier? You can add extra Paperbound books to your pledge simply by adding $35 each (plus $3 for U.S. or $6 for International shipping) at any tier. You can add extra Hardbound books to your pledge simply by adding $65 each (plus $5 for U.S. or $10 for International shipping) at any tier.
Collectors make our work possible — become one and receive a complimentary book
We are committed to the steadfast collectors who make our work possible! Therefore, through this campaign, you can receive a complimentary copy of The Hollow Men by T. S. Eliot by subscribing to three of our upcoming editions. This was our first edition and is no longer available for sale. Copies are limited and this may be the last opportunity to reserve one.
Take a closer look, and consider either our Hardbound or De Luxe Collector tiers. You will receive:
- The Masque of the Red Death by Edgar Allan Poe
- The Failurist by Markus Zusak
- The Great Man by Leo Tolstoy
- And with the compliments of the Press, The Hollow Men by T. S. Eliot
Our goal of $5,000 will allow us to produce 100 copies of A Masque of the Red Death in various bindings. Without $5,000 we can’t cover the overhead for the edition. Please help us make 100 copies possible!
Ten percent of the books in every No Reply edition are given to good causes and organizations. With this edition, we hope to give back to The Independent Publishing Resource Center in Portland, Oregon — an organization which supports makers of all stripes. We also hope to donate a copy of the edition to each of Portland’s nine public high schools, for their libraries’ special collections.
More about No Reply
No Reply Press was founded in 2019 by a group of young craftspeople who share a love for literature and bookmaking. After our first few editions met with great enthusiasm from collectors around the world — including in some of the world’s great public collections — we are hoping to pursue a several ambitious editions in 2020.
We have original works planned with several great contemporary authors, but to realize these editions, we need funding. The time put into each book is immense — literally hours and hours into each copy. We need to pay our craftspeople! Without your support, our plans won’t be possible. We need your help to get on our feet (and out of the garage)!
Best of all, if this campaign is a success, we hope to engage our collectors in a conversation about what they’d like to see us publish next.
Thank you for your consideration, and for your support!
Risks and challenges
This campaign is managed by a small team with lots of experience on Kickstarter. We know the challenges that can arise, and are ready to face them. Most importantly, however, we will communicate fully with our backers along the way! Expect updates every two weeks (or more!) between the time you pledge and the time you receive your book!