book factory

At a reading last month a publisher mentioned employees at a printer’s in China gluing pages of a book together by hand. And I thought, ‘huh, books that I normally think of as composed of words and pictures and then shipped and sold are, like, manufactured by people who are subject to labor practices.’

If you’re similarly interested in/stupid about the existence of objects before and after you encounter them, you can read this article about children’s picture books, recycled paper, and Indonesian rain forests.

And/or watch the how-it’s-made on commercial bookbinding. Although the pages materializing in one machine after another with just an opening cameo of a worker’s back and some occasional disembodied hands is creepy. The show should maybe be called Machines and the Substances They Manipulate. The narrator even sounds like a robot.

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