Travel Journal in Large

book, some by H.KurzkeI love working on commission, and the book in the back of the above image was an especially nice commission because the customer even told me how the book will get used. I always like that. It gives me a special connection to the book I am making, and the customer I am making it for.

I was asked for a book in the style of my travel journals, but with pages of size A5. And of course I can make books in that size, and I don’t mind making them. I also made books with A4 pages on commission. But it hit me then that most of the customers for whom I made books in the past year were asking for larger formats.

So why don’t I already have some ready made in stock? Mostly because they don’t really fit into my concept of  beautiful and sound proportions for a book, I guess. The DIN A format is too tall for my taste. I can see what makes the standard so great for the industry. But for personal use I prefer a less tall format. Letter is already better than A4 but I usually cut my writing pads even further. And secondly A5 is really huge for a book! We don’t usually think of A5 as a large format because we are used to writing on A4.  But now I challenge you: Go check your literature section of your book shelves: How many books are there that are at least A5 sized? (Encyclopedias and Atlases are not literature, at least for now, and don’t count!)

- We have 9. They are sitting on an extra shelf for oversized books. And this is the result in a fair sized library, not huge, but holding the books of two people who like to read and buy books. Well, I have to admit that I was not completely honest with you. We have a lot of shelves filled with literature that comes in much larger size: We have several meters of comics and graphic novel that are much larger. But for the sake of the argument I am simply suppressing that information here. And really: Do you think of a slim book in tall format when you hear “book”?

I am not saying that A5 is too large to use as a diary. Far from that. I am just trying to understand why I feel like they are huge. And seeing printed books shapes my percetion of what are good dimensions for a book.

But people are asking for journals in larger formats. So I should get to work and add some larger books to my product range. Lesson learned.

I arbeite gerne im Kundenauftrag! Das Buch im Bild ganz hinten, habe ich gerade fertig gestellt, und das war ein besonders schöner Auftrag, weil die Kundin mir auch erzählt hat, wie sie sich vorstellt, dass das Buch benutzt werden wird. (Es wird ein Geschenk!) Wenn ich weiß, wer ein Buch bekommt, und wie es benutzt werden wird, das macht mir immer besondere Freude, weil das irgendwie eine besondere Beziehung zu dem Gegenstand und dem zukünftigen Benutzer herstellt.

In diesem Fall handelt sich um ein Buch, das wie meine Reisetagebücher aussehen sollte, aber bitte nit Seitenformat A5.  Natürlich kann ich das machen. Ich habe auch schon Bücher im Format A4 und größer im Kundenauftrag gemacht. Wenn ich jetzt so darüber nachdenke, waren fast alle Nachfragen im letzten Jahr nach einem größeren Format.

Warum habe ich sie nicht sowieso schon im Angebot? Erst einmal kaufe ich mein Papier in Bögen, und die Größe eines Papierbogens ist nur selten in einem DIN Format. Wenn ich es also z.B. auf A5 zuschneide, fällt eine Menge Abfall an, und das mache ich deshalb nicht so gerne. Aber ich muss sagen, dass ich persönlich die DIN Formate nicht mag. Das war unter anderem auch einer der Gründe, weshalb ich ursprünglich angefangen habe, selbst Bücher zu machen. Ich finde die Seiten immer zu hoch im Verhältnis zur Breite.

Und das Format A5 ist wirklich groß! Normalerweise halten wir A5 nicht für groß, weil wir ja gewöhnt sind, auf A4 zu schreiben. A5 ist also eher klein, nicht wahr? Aber jetzt fordere ich dich heraus. Geh’ doch mal mit einem A5 Blatt an dein Bücherregal und zähle alle Bücher, die mindestens dieses Format haben. – Zählen wir mal nur Literatur und lassen Atlanten und Lexika und andere Nachschlagewerke außer Acht. Ich habe das bei uns mal gemacht, und das Ergbenis ist: 9. Sie befinden sich auf einem Regal für extragroße Bücher. Und das ist das Ergebnis, nicht einer riesigen Bibliothek, (wir sammeln ja hier keine Fachliteratur), aber doch einer guten Sammlung von Büchern von Zweien, die gerne Bücher lesen und kaufen.

Ich will nicht sagen, dass ein A5 Aufschreibebuch zu groß ist, wirklich nicht. Ich versuche nur zu klären, warum sie mir so groß erscheinen: Die Bücher, die wir jeden Tag in der Hand halten sind deutlich kleiner. Und sie sind es doch, die unser ästhetisches Bild von einem Buch prägen!

Aber die Leute fragen immer wieder nach solchen Büchern. Ich sollte mich also wohl mal an die Arbeit machen, und große Bücher anbieten!

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12 Responses to Travel Journal in Large

  1. Heike says:

    Lieber buechertiger,
    Deine Intimfeindschaft mit den DIN-Formaten kann ich gut nachvollziehen. Es geht mir zumehmend auch so, daß ich denke ein Buch liegt manchmal extrem gut in der Hand und hat mit DIN gar nichts zu tun.
    Es wäre mal interessant, zu wissen, wieviele “Lieblingsbücher” bei den Menschen in welchem Format sind.

    Aber davon abgesehen: sehr seh schöne Bücher! Hoffentlich bekommst Du eine gute Rückmeldung vom Beschenkten.

    Liebe Grüße
    von Made-by-May

    • buechertiger says:

      Liebe Heike,
      danke für deinen Kommentar und die guten Wünsche.
      Ich weiss allerdings nicht, ob ich es eine Feindschaft nennen würde. Vielleicht eher ein befremdet sein: Wieso wollen Leute so große Bücher und solche in so einem Format? Ich vermute ja, es liegt auch daran, wie groß Leute so schreiben, und wie viel sie gerne auf einer Seite stehen haben. – Es wäre in der Tat interessant zu schauen, welche Formate Leute so mögen! Was ist denn dein Lieblingsformat?

  2. I’m a little confused at your remark about A5 books being too large. As they are only half the size of an A4 book, they are not really too big for journals, although I do prefer to make mine A6 (half the size of an A5).

    Your black book with the brown image is truly exquisite.

    cecilia (australia)

    • buechertiger says:

      As I said: “I am not saying that A5 is too large to use as a diary. Far from that. I am just trying to understand why I feel like they are huge. And seeing printed books shapes my percetion of what are good dimensions for a book.”
      The standard format I am using is the standard format I am making, – maybe that is not surprising – about 12.5cm x 16cm. For comparison: A5 has 14.8cm x 21cm; the same aspect ratio for a book 12,5cm wide would be 17,7 tall.
      But I do seem to like especially small books, and you are not alone with preferring A5. I made a lot of larger formats and A5 books upon request in the past year. And apparently I should stock up on larger books.

      Thank you for your compliment on a book of mine, of course such words are always music to my ears :-) – But which one do you mean?

  3. cathryn miller says:

    Personally I like the smaller formats for books: I like a book that is easy to hold in the hand!

    I have customers who want really big books, so I make them. But my favourites are the small, sweet, exquisitely personal journals!

    • The book I mentioned I love is the one at the top of this page. But I now realise that whereas I thought perhaps I was seeing the back and front of the same book, perhaps they are two different books — in which case I love them both!

      • buechertiger says:

        Ah, o.k. thanks, Cecilia for coming back! I was confused because you said something about a brown image, so I thought that maybe you meant a whole different book. But apparently only my photo is giving incorrect color information. In the back of the photo you see the journal I made recently, with a dark gray leather cover, and bits of red an creme colored Italian floral patterned paper as decoration on the cover, the same paper as paste down, and beside and slightly behind is its matching slipcase. The faces of the slipcase are covered with that same Italian paper, and to the front face a leather band is attached which helps to get the book out of the case. This book already got shipped, so I cannot make a better picture. But other than being larger, it is very similar to my travel journal series, of which you can see better pictures here:

        Moreover I placed one of my usual sized travel journals in the front of the commissioned book, plus a large and normal sized paperback novel to the left for size comparison.

  4. buechertiger says:

    Cathryn, you are right. I haven’t found the right words before, now that you are saying it I completely agree: these smaller books feel indeed more personal, closer. Maybe because I like to carry my journals around with me, and use them outside in cafes and parks, and it is so much easier to carry a small book.

  5. Billie says:

    Hi Hilke

    I love to make small books A7 is my favorite,easy to cary around in a pocket. For more detailed notes I like A6, which again is nice and portable.

    For drawing my favorite is A5, which gives me plenty of space. I like to write a daily journal and for that I favour A5, mainly because it stays in the house rather than carrying it around.

    As with all things it is personal preference and what the ‘end use’ of the book will be.

    Your books are wonderful, my favorite in this picture is the black journal with the floral motif. That is a very elegant journal and having a matching slip case makes it even more special.

    One problem I have had with the books that I make for people is they often say they are too nice to use. Which is both nice and a little sad too. Poor little books, doomed to sit in a dark drawer or untouched on a shelf.

    Best wishes

    Billie :)

    • buechertiger says:

      I get that a lot, too. I always try to tell them, those customers, to be bold – everything will look good in a book eventually. I emphasize that these books are not finished yet, being blank, and need their help to come to ‘life’ :-)

  6. Billie says:

    Hi Hilke

    Ohh I like that, what a lovely way to put it. Great idea, mind if I ‘borrow it’ ;)

    Billie :)