The Bookshop Band write songs about books and play them in bookshops.
Last month they got in touch about printing a newspaper with us to use as an insert in their CD box set. They wanted to keep the ‘real print’ feel of the letterpress printing they had used for the CDs, so they chose a traditional tabloid – printed on a real web offset newspaper printing press.
We asked Ben, Beth and Poppy from the band, to tell us more:
Here, at The Bookshop Band, we love proper printed things. When we were making our albums, we went to a letterpress studio in Oxford, got our die-cuts and blocks made up, and printed the albums on an old Heidelberg press. The whirl of the machine, the noise and the smell, all in a studio surrounded by artists’ prints, all who had chosen to print their work here, all made it an awesome experience.
We made four albums in this way, and so produced a box for them all to go in, our box set – year one. And we left a little space for something else. Being called The Bookshop Band, we wanted to make a little book to slot in the gap in the box, alongside the four albums, which would have the lyrics and artwork. We looked into costs, and the only thing we could find was to get a print on demand little booklet. It was all a bit too expensive, and wasn’t in keeping with the proper printing job of the rest the of the package. We felt a bit uninspired by it.
Then… Ed, who works at Mr Bs Emporium of Reading Delights, an independent bookshop in Bath, showed us a newspaper printed by Newspaper Club. A proper newspaper. Full colour, huge pages. Suddenly we were all excited again. We could put photos, lyrics, stories, artwork in here, and at a size where you could actually see it. We had a go folding the one they had in the bookshop to see if it would fit our box, and it did, perfectly. It was meant to be. It wasn’t a book, but it was a proper newspaper, properly printed, looked amazing, and totally fitted in with our letterpress-produced box set. A real object in a real object, if that makes sense.
So, Ben set to designing our own. All the songs we write in the band are inspired by books, so each song has a story behind it. The newspaper format gave us the space to put these stories in, and tell the stories behind the recording and conception of the band.
We got enough newspapers to go in all our box sets, alongside a whole batch which we could sell at our concerts (all in bookshops), as a concert programme. People absolutely loved it. It was a great way to get people to engage with the band, tell the tales, and present the reading lists that went with each album. The only problem was that we didn’t get enough made initially, and sold out quickly. It was probably a good thing to update it however, so in our re-print we put in more relevant posters for our current tours.
When we record our next box set, we’re definitely going to make Issue Two. And if we can, we’ll order a few more this time!
Thanks Bookshop Band, we’re looking forward to printing many more!
If you’re quick, you can pick up one of the last few copies of the Bookshop Band Chronicles in the band’s online shop. And if you want to catch them playing live in a bookshop near you this summer, there are still a few dates left on their UK tour. They’ll also be taking up residence at The People’s Parlour from 9-10 every night of next weekend’s WOMAD festival (Charlton Park 25th-28th July)