The Bespoke Book


Today I called the Los Angeles Times to cancel my subscription of over 20 years. An account supervisor came on the line and offered me the same subscription for $21 a month for seven days delivery, half of what I was paying for the last few years - in reality I am now paying what it is worth.

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If I hadn't called, I would be still paying for a newspaper that is nothing more than a shell of what it was 10 years ago. The death of the newspaper was heralded by the Four Horseman; the internet, news aggregators, the economy and a generation raised in the digital world. I started a conversation from my experience with the Los Angeles Times on Facebook and it lead to this: Bespoke Books.

What if we could combine elements from our own archives into a published book and have it made specially for us? I could choose a photography book on Japan and then insert images of my family's trip from Tokyo to Kyoto? Yes, I can hear the cringing of writers and designers now; however it if was used with images from a stock agency, the cringing from photographers would be eased by the licensing of the images just for that purpose. Now lets move into the written word. What if I could take a classic such as Emma by Jane Austen and insert my personal notes and images? And give this as a gift to a friend?

We already do this everyday with music. We create bespoke playlists for friends, lovers and events. Why not with the printed word and image? Just a thought.


My idea of a Bespoke Society:
A bespoke society is about being an individual in an increasingly cookie cutter world.

From Wikipedia: Bespoke is employed in a variety of applications to mean an item custom-made to the buyer's specification. While applied to many items now, the term historically was only applied to tailored clothing, shirts and other parts of men's apparel involving measurement and fitting. The distinguishing points of bespoke tailoring are the buyer's total control over the fabric used, the features and fit, and the way the garment should be made. More generally, bespoke describes a high degree of customization, and involvement of the end-user, in the production of the good.

Image: Ophelia Chong / collage on a found book / Contes Dramatiques

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