The NewLights Press makes limited edition books. Those limits are determined by two things: 1) the amount of books that we can afford to make—financially, temporally, spatially, emotionally, spiritually; and 2) the number of books that we think will find a home eventually—the number that we can expect to sell/trade/give away. The size of the edition is the maximum number of copies that those two constraints allow. Preciousness or scarcity is something to be avoided. The NewLights Press does not make limited edition books. The NewLights Press makes books in small editions.
(Small, tiny even, when compared to mass production. But on the larger side when compared with other people & presses making books by hand.)
The NewLights Press makes books in small editions, and does not do reprints. No matter how fast that first run sells out. Again, this is not about preciousness or scarcity. It is mostly about the fact there just isn’t enough time to reprint the books—let’s do a new one instead. Let’s do a better one, let’s make the next book.
Limits on an edition are a practical necessity. Let’s not pretend otherwise.
Are there ways in which the edition can be re-thought, re-deployed, re-made, re-produced? If the edition is considered abstractly, as a constraint or framework, how can we play with it? What if the edition is not a pre-determined constraint on the number of copies, but a pre-determined constraint that interacts with the process of production to make a certain number of copies? What if the edition is limited by time? Space? The weather? The text? Another text? The financial markets? The unemployment rate? What if the edition is not conceived in terms of a constraint at all, but as the generative prompt for the piece?