These books are hand-bound using the ancient Coptic style of binding. Coptic Binding is believed to have been invented by Egyptian Coptic Priests nearly 2000 years ago as a better way to bind their manuscripts. Recognized by scholars as the world’s first Codex, or multi-signature, binding, it became the distant forerunner to modern mechanical book-binding. By the middle ages, Coptic Binding was the most common form of bookbinding throughout Europe. Coptic books must each be individually and meticulously made by hand, so when the need for mass-produced books arose it heralded the end of the widespread use of Coptic Binding. It is kept alive today by a handful of artists and artisans around the world. Coptic Binding is readily identifiable by its ease of opening and the painstakingly beautiful stitching woven across an open spine. It should be noted that this binding pre-dates the invention of paper. The first Coptic books were usually made with wooden covers and papyrus pages. Parchment (sheep or goat skin) and vellum (a finer material made from calf skin) soon replaced the papyrus, but it wasn’t until probably the 8th or 9th century A. D. that paper made its way from China to the Western World and became the material of choice.
Our Rustic books have a simple but charming binding evocative of a straight-forward style which would have been used in a less sophisticated time. We developed this variation on a classic stab binding, itself one of the oldest bookbinding methods in the world, pre-dating the Coptic Binding by centuries, specifically for these books. Their handmade paper covers have a rough-hewn look, emphasized by torn edges on the decorative trim and rough hemp cord for the binding. Rustic books are available at a much lower price purely because they are simpler and much quicker to create, but you can rest assured that the same craftsmanship and attention to detail that the Coptic books receive is given to the Rustic books as well. The content of the Rustic books is the same as the equivalent titles in the Coptic binding. These are like the “paperback” version of our titles.