China Under the Covers: A Binder's Journey to the Roots of Books

Take the journey. Learn the craft.

A bookbinding manual and an adventure tale, China Under the Covers blends history, romance, and how-to as East and West connect.

Follow journalist and longtime bookbinder Margaret E. Davis as she navigates a rapidly evolving civilization to study one of its most influential and enduring inventions. Illustrated instructions show how to create four of the first forms of books on paper, which can be replicated today using simple tools and available materials.

For an online media kit and in-depth info on the book, visit

9 x 6 x 3/4 inches, 200 pps. with illustrations and photographs
trade paper; first edition published in 2017
ISBN: 978-0-9670264-4-2
$24.95, plus $5.05 for shipping to U.S. addresses (total $30.00 USD)
$24.95, plus $20.05 for shipping to addresses outside the U.S. (total $45.00 USD)

Book + shipping

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Chinese Dreams

Inspired by the sleepers found throughout China on a trip in 2012, Chinese Dreams captures the ritual midday nap as practiced from Beijing and the port metropolis of Tianjin to the remote reaches of Hunan Province. The eleven images appeared in a solo show that marked the beginning of the Year of the Horse at the Northeast Community Center in Portland, Oregon.

The binding was inspired by a hinged rigid-page structure taught by Alicia Bailey that allows the book to lay flat and for full presentation of the photographs.

Edition of 25, 2014
5 7/8 x 4 3/8 x 3/8 inches (closed), 14 pps
inkjet-printed and hand-bound
$45, plus $3 for shipping

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Steel Standing: 10 Things to Love about an Iconic Bridge

Portland’s Steel Bridge turned 100 on July 21, 2012; this hand-bound, letterpress-printed book honors the milestone and the hardworking, unique structure. Steel Standing contains details and anecdotes about the bridge, which has weathered fire, floods, and an amount of traffic that was deemed “enormous” even by civil engineers of the 1920s–and that was before multimodal was all the rage.

Edition of 15, 2012
12 1/4 x 8 x 1/2 inches (closed), 13 pps
hand-bound and letterpress printed, with original screen print as centerfold
$80, plus $6 for shipping

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L’Invitation au Voyage

When Charles Baudelaire published his Fleurs du Mal in 1857, the authorities quickly moved to condemn many of the outrageous poems in it. “L’Invitation au Voyage” was not one of them. It is, instead, a haunting meditation on travel, where it takes us and where we want to go—and the torture of wanderlust. Of all the translations available, I'm partial to Edna St. Vincent Millay’s. Read it, and seek!

Edition of 25, 2011
4 1/4 x 5 1/8 inches, 3 pps
letterpress printed in French (colophon in English), with digitally polished Polaroid transfer
$35, plus $3 for shipping

A view of the cover of L’Invitation au Voyage

Detail of printed text

L’Invitation au Voyage extended

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In the meantime, check out More currrent titles. As the Chinese say, “After three days without reading, talk becomes flavorless.”

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