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.

Types and Methods

Fanbinders may use commercial or non-commercial methods to make fanbindings. Commercial services include the use of Print on Demand (POD) companies like Lulu, or producing a limited set run through a small-scale printing company like custom zines.

Non-commercial methods involve some form of hand-binding, which may be accomplished through various methods, such as old-school spiral bindings, desktop thermal binding machines for perfect binding, or traditional hand-sewn bindings for hardcovers or pamphlets. At-home binders may create simple designs or elaborate decorative bindings, using text formatting software (Microsoft Word, Affinity Publisher, InDesign, or others) and a wide range of crafting techniques.

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[1], 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."[2] Their members are multi-fandom and official members of the "publishing" side are required to agree to a Code of Conduct, [3] but membership is not required to join the discord server or for access to many free resources. [4] The community also has strong anti-capitalist and anti-censorship leanings.[5]

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[6][7][8][9] and it is common practice to offer commissions at the cost of materials and shipping.[10]

Amateur Fanfic Binding is a private Facebook group formed on April 9th, 2022.[11] Their fandom focus appears to skew towards Dramione and Harry Potter (though they do appear to have typesets from other fandoms[12]), and they are extremely pro-file sharing. [13] They ban the use of print-on-demand companies like Lulu within the group, as well as advertising of commissions or Patreon tutorials.[11]


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..." [14] While not every author accepts, those who do are highly appreciative. "Today I am overcome," one author writes, "in the best way possible."[15] 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)[16]

In October 2023, tumblr user and fanbinder bluejayblueskies created a poll to assess author and fanartist opinions about whether they are okay with someone hand-binding their work into a book for personal use. Over 16,000 people responded, with 46.3% answering "Yes, and there is no need to ask for permission first" and 32.9% answering "Yes, but only if they ask for permission first."[17] From a selection of notes and replies, many of those who wanted to be asked for permission said that it was because they wanted to know that the book existed, and not because they would deny the request.

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." (This 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.[18]

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[19] 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[20], 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[21] 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[22][23] 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.[24][25] In response, many Dramione fanbinders did remove typesets from Patreon,[26] 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[27]). Most also removed the keeping of commissions behind paywalls, although several still give priority to Patreon supporters.[28] 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. [29] Some authors did ban commissions of any kind.[30]

Instagram Fanfiction Auction

While fandom charity events are common now (see: Fandom Trumps Hate, etc), the way in which these events are conducted may be subject to criticism.

In April 2023, a group of Instagram fanbinders (mostly in the Dramione fandom) started an auction to raise money for a Ukrainian woman who was relocating to Canada as part of an asylum program. The group, headed by a number of prominent Instagram fanbinders (including Stephy's Bindery, ferns.and.fables, Witchy Fic Bindery, hana_bob),[31] started the Instagram account bookbindsforacause to auction off bindings of popular Dramione fanfics in exchange for donations to a GoFundMe,[32] which would be given to her upon her arrival in Canada. This structure garnered a number of criticisms: 1) that Stephy's Bindery was handling large sums of money after previous bad behavior (see Patreon Profiting above)[33], 2) that some authors and artists[34] had not been asked for permission to include their work in the auction[35][36] or had been misled as to the extent of the auction[37], and 3) that the GoFundMe did not constitute an actual charity as it was to benefit a single individual [38] and the GoFundMe TOS bans the exchange of goods for donations.[39] A few critics reported the GoFundMe[33] for violating the TOS, and it was taken down[40] (and later restored). Some authors also spoke up in defense of specific binders who did request permission to include their fanfic in the auction.[41] Several fanbinders participating in the auction dropped out[42] when they became aware of the lack of permissions in some cases, or offered that they would send the bind they had created without it being contingent on a donation.[43] The responses and actions from the bookbindsforacause instagram were criticized as well, as the account deleted comments[44][45][46] questioning the auction and lack of permissions. To comments about the lack of permissions, the account responded with: "Binders were individually responsible for getting permission, or interpreting the blanket approvals previously given by authors. That being said, The Fallout was believed to be a generally approved fanfiction to bind due to the nature of the response around it being mass printed in December. The community and authors involved seemed neutral or in favor of this happening despite its legal implications of profit, leading us to believe that binding for charity would be even more positively received."[47] This was in reference to a Russian fan group that organized a mass printing (and sale) of The Fallout several months prior, which was widely criticized both by the runners of the auction and others in Dramione circles.[48][49]

Author response for the most part was negative, with multiple popular authors in the fandom revoking "not for profit (at-cost)" commissions and any form of monetary compensation, including charity auctions.[50][51] Most prominently, Senlinyu, the author of Manacled, changed her fanbinding permissions to "personal use only"[52] and shared communications with the Archive of Our Own Legal Team regarding their advice on minimizing author legal culpability regarding fandom monetization.[53]

After the changing author policies started appearing, the fanbinder contributers to the auction appear to have split. Many of those who stepped back made an effort to broadcast and share changes in author policies.[54][55][50][42] In contrast, auction organizer ferns.and.fables made several long Instagram videos and and stories[56][57] that blamed Russians for taking down the GoFundMe,[58] other fans for bullying authors into changing permissions because they were jealous,[59] protested other fans bringing up past bad behavior from Stephy's Bindery and others with Patreons,[59][60] and pushed back on authors who wanted to revoke all fanbinding permissions, including those for personal use.[61][62] Other binders seemed to think the primary criticism was the amount of money raised and were frustrated that the donation cause had been overshadowed[63][64][65][66].

In November of 2023, after the bombing of Gaza began, the bookbindsforacause account reactivated to conduct a charity auction to support Palestinian victims of the conflict[67]. In this auction, no fanfiction bindings were offered[68] and the donations were coordinated directly through UNRWA USA[69] instead of to a individual's GoFundMe. The auction instead focused on decorative rebindings of published works (which are legal), donated special editions, and other artist commissions.[68] As of December 2023, the charity auction had raised over $17,000 for the cause.[69] There has been no known criticism of this auction.

Related Fandom Studies

As fannish bookbinding has gained more prominence, fan studies academics have turned their attention to it. Kimberly Kennedy and Shira Buchsbaum conducted research within the Renegade Bindery discord, publishing multiple articles both jointly and individually.


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. [70]



  1. ^ Fan binding as a method of fan work preservation credits Renegade Publishing and the discord server with popularizing fanbinding in 2020
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^ Renegade Manifesto. 17 Aug, 2022. Accessed 29 December, 2023.
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^
  9. ^
  10. ^
  11. ^ a b
  12. ^
  13. ^
  14. ^ [1], ArmoredSuperHeavy's tumblr post
  15. ^ [2], A_nonnie_mouse's tumblr post
  16. ^ [3], notbecauseofvictories' tumblr post
  17. ^ Tumblr poll by bluejayblueskies. 5 October, 2023. Accessed 29 December, 2023.
  18. ^ [4], My Immortal fanbinding
  19. ^
  20. ^
  21. ^
  22. ^
  23. ^
  24. ^
  25. ^
  26. ^
  27. ^
  28. ^ "OMFG and ZOMG-tier Patreon subscribers have dibs on the slots for 6 hours."
  29. ^ "I permit personal bookbinding and non-profit commissions (covering the cost of materials and shipping only)."
  30. ^
  31. ^ List of Auction Participants
  32. ^ Auction description on twinsuns' IG.
  33. ^ a b Reddit post discussing Stephy's involvement in the auction and reporting Stephy's Bindery, Archived version
  34. ^ artist permission not received for auction
  35. ^ Pacific-rimbaud statement on the auction
  36. ^ Criticism for lack of permission for The Fallout
  37. ^ Senlinyu on extrapolation of their consent to bind
  38. ^ Comments on instagram page criticizing "charity"
  39. ^ "You, as an Organizer, represent... that... (viii) you will not provide or offer to provide goods or services in exchange for Donations."
  40. ^ Instagram story about GFM takedown.
  41. ^ Reddit comment from author stating they were asked permission.
  42. ^ a b LadyBobbit drops out of the auction.
  43. ^ Redpandabindery's statement on the auction (echoed by twinsuns)
  44. ^ Venitaserum's twitter thread on deletion of comments. April 16, 2023. (Accessed 28 December, 2023).
  45. ^ Tweet about deleted instagram comments about lack of artist permissions.
  46. ^ Tweets about deleted instagram comments.
  47. ^ Instagram response from official account
  48. ^ Ferns&Fables (an auction organizer) recognizing a Dramione author criticizing the Russian mass printing.
  49. ^ Instagram comment refuting bookbindsforacause's narrative
  50. ^ a b Fanbinder LadyBobbit's catalogue of author permissions
  51. ^ PacificRimbaud's author profile.
  52. ^ Senlinyu's Twitter update.
  53. ^ Senlinyu's email communications with Ao3 Legal.
  54. ^ athenabindery IG Story shared by thousandlives_bindery, screenshot. Est April 2023. Access 28 December, 2023.
  55. ^ Vellichor Bindery's IG Story of author policies. Access 28 December, 2023.
  56. ^ ferns.and.fables IG story.Screenshot Est April 2023. Accessed 28 December, 2023.
  57. ^ caruciatus tweet. 15 April, 2023. Accessed 28 December, 2023.
  58. ^ Twitter comment from @iamdronegirl with link to ferns.and.fables IG video. 17 April, 2023. Accessed 28 December, 2023.
  59. ^ a b ferns.and.fables IG story screenshot. Est. April 2023. Accessed 28 December, 2023.
  60. ^ ferns.and.fables IG post, screenshot. Est April 2023. Accessed 28 December, 2023.
  61. ^ Reddit comment with link to ferns.and.fables IG video. April 2023. Accessed 28 December, 2023.
  62. ^ ferns.and.fables IG Story screenshot. Est. April 2023. Access 28 December, 2023.
  63. ^ ferns.and.fables IG story, screenshot. Est. April 2023. Accessed 28 December, 2023.
  64. ^ thegeminibindery IG story, screenshot. Est April 2023. Accessed 28 December, 2023.
  65. ^ dramioneswaki IG story, screenshot. Est. April 2023. Accessed 28 December, 2023.
  66. ^ melbindsfics IG story, screenshot. Est. April 2023. Access 28 December, 2023.
  67. ^ Conflict referred to - Wikipedia link
  68. ^ a b bookbindsforacause Charity Auction for Palestine post
  69. ^ a b UNWRA USA Bookbinds for a Cause donation page
  70. ^