Fannish Bookbinding

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Synonyms: fanbinding, fanbound, ficbinding
See also: Binding, Blanket Permission To Fanbinding, Fancraft, Fanart
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Fannish bookbinding and bookmaking is a type of fancraft. Fans may aim to replicate books from their canons (e.g. the Book of Shadows from Charmed), create original books inspired by the canon, or bind fanfic. Fannish bookbinding activities sometimes overlap with the creation of custom zines.

Fanbinders can use print services, or print the text and then bind works by hand. Binding by hand can be both time and money intensive, depending on how far a fanbinder decides to go.

Circles of Activity

While fannish bookbinding is often an individual activity and individually motivated, a couple of social circles with their own cultural trends, norms, and preferred media platforms can be identified. Some are more official than others.

Renegade Publishing, which bills itself as a not-for-profit guild of artists, operates primarily on Discord, Tumblr, and Dreamwidth (though it has presence on other platforms). They explicitly promote a "sharing, collaborative, affirmative, and renegade" community that focuses on teaching in order to make fanbinding as "accessible and inclusive as possible."[1] Their members are multi-fandom and official members of the "publishing" side are required to agree to a Code of Conduct, [2] but membership is not required to join the discord server or for access to many free resources. [3]

Instagram and TikTok are also home to a large number of fanbinders, predominately those who bind in the Dramione and Reylo ships. These binders are more loosely associated social circle, but occasionally self-organize such as the bookbindsforacause Instagram. Prominent binders include hana_bob, Stephy's Bindery, and Witchy Fic Bindery. Many of the binders in this circle have Patreon accounts[4][5][6][7] and it is common practice to offer commissions at the cost of materials and shipping.[8]

Amateur Fanfic Binding is a private Facebook group formed on April 9th, 2022.[9] Their fandom focus appears to skew towards Dramione and Harry Potter (though they do appear to have typesets from other fandoms[10]), and they are extremely pro-file sharing. [11] They ban the use of print-on-demand companies like Lulu within the group, as well as advertising of commissions or Patreon tutorials.[9]


Positive Feedback

Author feedback to fanbinding projects is for the most part positive. Some fanbinders reach out to authors in order to offer a gift copy to the author, as a way of participating in the gift economy of fandom. "Binding means two copies. One goes to the author, as a gift. The other I keep in a slowly growing archive..." [12] While not every author accepts, those who do are highly appreciative. "Today I am overcome," one author writes, "in the best way possible."[13] For some fanbinders, this kind of response is exactly the goal.

I can’t believe this exists. That this is in my hands, that the words in that sharp serif are mine, that @kaasknot took the time to arrange them and make this book (a real book!) around them. You can’t even see the red-and-white striped thread binding in these photos, can’t run your fingers over the smooth marbled cover, can’t smell that smell, the paper smell, and shiver all over in awareness that after decades of haunting libraries and bookstores, this bit of paper is yours... Thank you, thank you, a million times over, to @kaasknot for this. I am overawed, I am undone. I keep reaching for it, just to make sure that yes, yes, it’s still there. It exists, and it’s beautiful.

notbecauseofvictories, author of the fic "The Devil Went Down To Georgia (And Then Went Down on Johnny)[14]

Reception by fellow fans is sometimes overwhelmingly positive to the point of pressure. In the notes on the more high-profile fanbinding posts, one can find numerous comments to the effect of "I want to buy this." (Which sets precedents for the criticisms and controversies of the next section of this article.) This is exemplified within the notes on the post for runawaymarbles' handbound copy of My Immortal, and ArmoredSuperHeavy's entire response post to the question of commissions.[15]

Criticism and Controversies

Some authors and fans/readers see fanbinding as an activity that can remove the current fragile legal status of fanfiction, as it would open up margins for monetary profit on the printed and bound works. There is also the issue of copyright, blanket permission and plagiarism, as not every bookbinder has the author's authorization to print the work. Some people do it for profit, illegally selling fanfiction bound as books on websites. So there is some controversy and criticism of this fan activity.[citation needed]

Patreon Profiting

In July 2022, a number of fanbinders in the Dramione and Reylo shipping fandoms were called out by fellow fans, artists, authors, and fanbinders[16] for using their Patreon accounts to profit off of fanbinding. Actions criticized included: placing typesets of fanfiction works not written by them behind Patreon paywalls[17], using fanart (including commissioned fanart) without permission on fanbinding commissions or merchandise, and placing fanbinding commission lotteries behind Patreon paywalls. In particular, Stephy of Stephy's Bindery was called out for making an estimated thousands of dollars[18] per month from her Patreon, largely due to typesets and commission slots held behind supporter paywalls, on top of committing every one of the before mentioned actions[19][20] under criticism. This controversy resulted in many prominent Dramione authors (including SenLinYu, author of Manacled, one of the most bound fanfics) and artists updating permission statements about what type of fanbinding they permit their works to be used in, and explicitly banning typesets kept behind paywalls.[21][22] In response, many Dramione fanbinders did remove typesets from Patreon,[23] although several claimed that they had only been following the actions of binders that came before them (likely referencing omgreylo of Worlds Between Bindery, who claims to be the first Dramione/Reylo binder[24]). Most also removed the keeping of commissions behind paywalls, although several still give priority to Patreon supporters.[25] However, the general consensus following the discourse was that typesets and commissions should not be behind paywalls, and that only "not-for-profit" commissions with author permission (price only including materials and shipping) would be acceptable going forward. [26] Some authors did ban commissions of any kind.[27]


Replica Books & Art Bindings

Fanfiction Bindings

Inspired By Canon

  • Jack Tuckwell, under the handle Alarm Eighteen, created Hogwarts textbooks in a blend of replica and inspired by canon craftmanship. [28]



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  12. ^ [1], ArmoredSuperHeavy's tumblr post
  13. ^ [2], A_nonnie_mouse's tumblr post
  14. ^ [3], notbecauseofvictories' tumblr post
  15. ^ [4], My Immortal fanbinding
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  25. ^ "OMFG and ZOMG-tier Patreon subscribers have dibs on the slots for 6 hours."
  26. ^ "I permit personal bookbinding and non-profit commissions (covering the cost of materials and shipping only)."
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