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.


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..." [1] While not every author accepts, those who do are highly appreciative. "Today I am overcome," one author writes, "in the best way possible."[2] 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)[3]

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.[4]

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]




  1. ^ [1], ArmoredSuperHeavy's tumblr post
  2. ^ [2], A_nonnie_mouse's tumblr post
  3. ^ [3], notbecauseofvictories' tumblr post
  4. ^ [4], My Immortal fanbinding