bespoke books network

The customer

bespoke books

The initiative for the bespoke edition of a book usually comes from the customer.

case 1

A customer has twelve favourite books for which they would like to have bespoke editions.

The customer checks on the network’s website whether these books are available for bespoke editions.

Since the books are all available, the customer contacts the local book workshop and gets involved in the layout and design processes, and chooses the materials for each book.

At every step the customer is advised by the craftspeople, but the customer has the final say.

These twelve books are single editions.

case 2

A group of fans get together to create their own design for their favourite book series.

They tell their social networks about it, and in the end two thousand two hundred and twenty two people sign up for a copy of this limited edition of the book series, which will be produced at the nearest local book workshop of the respective fan.

case 3

A customer approaches the local book station, which includes a workshop for bespoke books, about a new layout and design for her Lord of the Rings copy.

The customer, layout master and the illustrators work together closely until every detail is agreed upon.

A first copy of the book will be produced for the customer, and afterwards this particular edition will be offered online.

Whenever a bespoke books workshop receives enough orders, this edition can be reproduced anywhere in the world.

case 4

A customer peruses the bespoke books network website and discovers an edition of Aïtmatov’s Jamilia, designed by a Kyrgyz artist.

It is a pretty expensive edition but it is still open for reproduction, meaning that any bespoke books workshop can obtain a licence to reproduce it, until the maximum of 7,500 copies is reached.

The customer sends an enquiry for a copy via the network’s website.

The network contacts the closest bespoke books workshop, but the workshop declines since this edition needs a highly specialised illustrator. After a few more tries, the network finds a match, and it turns out that two other readers are thinking about ordering this edition too.

With this in mind, the network contacts the customer and gives a first estimate for the price.

In the end seven orders are placed at this workshop. The price is still pretty high, but once the copy is in the customer’s hands, it seem like a priceless jewel.

case 5

A customer has a collection of favourite recipes, most of them loose on paper, some earmarked in cookbooks.

The customer approaches the local bespoke books workshop, and asks whether they would be prepared to work their way through this collection and create a bespoke cookbook on particularly resilient paper.

Also the customer would like to support local artists and offers a budget for illustrations.

After about two weeks the workshop presents a first draft with some choices for illustrations.

It takes another week to agree on all the details, and about a month until the new cookbook is ready.

When the customer picks it up, they exclaim: ‘I say, every cookbook should be a bespoke book. This is perfect.’

There are all sorts of reasons to initiate a bespoke edition of a book, like a favourite book edition, a special friend edition, a birthday edition, the author’s edition (even like a director’s cut), the Berlin edition, an artist’s edition and so on.

Though generally speaking, the aim of bespoke books is to reduce the number of printed books, not to come up with more ideas to use up resources /-)


  • Bespoke book editions can be single editions, limited editions, editions which are connected to a person or a location, or editions which are made available globally.
  • The customer is the one who initiates an edition.
  • Only sold editions are produced.
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