Ebook out for Six Centuries of Type & Printing

The ebook edition of Six Centuries of Type & Printing is now out and available for purchase! The letterpress edition is moving towards hot-metal composition and printing in the near future. You can pre-order a bundle of the print and ebook editions, and receive the ebook edition right now.

What’s the book about? If you ever wondered how the craft of printing was invented and how it evolved, this book answers that question and many others. Starting with Gutenberg, Six Centuries of Type and Printing traces the development of type design, type manufacture, presses, and printing through the present digital era with many stops along the way. The book explains how many aspects of printing and type remain the same, despite a shift from metal to photography to bits, across almost six centuries of constant improvement.

The book download is a bundle of three formats: PDF, EPUB, and MOBI (Kindle compatible) that you can use in any compatible ereader and with any device you own.

Book, Book, Book! Three New Books

It‘s been a busy summer, and I have three new and revised books to show for it. Two came out today!

Connect and Secure Your iPhone and iPad (for iOS 13.1 and iPadOS 13.1) is the sixth edition of my ebook about making your mobile devices as safe and secure as possible. Download this excerpt, which is a full chapter on Personal Hotspot, significantly changed in iOS 13.1 and iPadOS 13.1.

The book, renamed this edition to be more concise, explains how to connect to various kinds of networks, manage your cellular data usage (including a new Low Data Mode), use AirDrop and AirPlay, understand Apple’s anti-tracking protections in Safari, make smart privacy decisions, use a VPN for extra security, enable two-factor authentication to protect your Apple ID against hijacking, and work with the updated Find Me service to track lost devices and potentially recover stolen ones. The book is overhauled for iOS 13.1 and the new iPadOS 13.1. (I’ve released an update that brings the book fully up to date with the 13.1 releases.)

Take Control of Your Apple ID is a comprehensive guide to managing your Apple account, including adding security, making sure you can recover access if your account is locked, dealing with multiple Apple IDs, and troubleshooting common problems. It is also fully updated for all the new operating systems!

Six Centuries of Type & Printing is a totally different animal. It’s a short breeze through the entirety of type and printing from Gutenberg to the present. You’ll learn what Gutenberg created that was new and unique, how type design and manufacture progressed across centuries, and the huge acceleration in technology that began right around 1800 and has hardly stopped until today. The print edition of the book is typeset in hot-metal Monotype composition and its illustrations are engraved in zinc plates. The book is printed by letterpress, and is a foil-stamped, case-bound hardcover with sewn signatures, and comes in a slipcase, also foil stamped. It’s 64 pages long and measures 8 by 5 inches. The book is currently in production and due to ship by January 2020. You can pre-order a copy. There’s also an ebook edition that will ship in a few weeks. The print edition includes an ebook download.

A Type History Talk Featuring the Tiny Type Museum

I was in San Francisco in early June, and the Grabhorn Institute invited me to give a short talk in their gallery about type history and the Tiny Type Museum & Time Capsule. The institute preserves the practical history of type casting and fine-art printing by perpetuating it, fulfilling orders from letterpress printers and producing new books, while running an apprenticeship program, regular tours, and inviting speakers (like me!).

Three Jeopardy Alum Talk James Holzhauer and the Future of the Game

I sat down at Phinney Books on May 16, 2019, with Tom Nissley, an 8-time Jeopardy winner in 2010 and first runner-up in the 2011 tournament of champions, and Matthew Amster-Burton, a strong player who fell victim early in James Holzhauer’s run, to talk about James, his playing style, how to bet on Daily Doubles, and whether the game of Jeopardy has changed forever. (Me? I won two games by the skin of my teeth back in 2012.) Bios of Tom and Matthew below the sound link.

You can listen at Soundcloud, download the audio, or subscribe in a podcast player via this link.

Tom Nissley won $235,405 across 8 games in late 2010, and he remains the #9 all-time regular play winner. He additionally won $100,000 in the 2011 tournament of champions, placing second to Roger Craig. Tom answered the question of “how do you afford to start a bookstore these days?” by using Jeopardy money to buy a retiring couple’s store and re-open it as Phinney Books in Seattle. The store opened a sister store in a bookstore-free neighborhood in Seattle, Madison Park, just weeks ago. Tom spent a decade at Amazon and wrote the book A Reader’s Book of Days.

Matthew Amster-Burton is a food writer, novelist, and podcaster. He’s written several books, including Hungry Monkey, a journey of learning to cook and eat with his then young child; Pretty Good Number One; and Our Secret Better Lives. He cohosts the food comedy podcast Spilled Milk. Matthew had the signal pleasure of playing amazing well in a Jeopardy match aired on April 8, 2019, in which he racked up a terrific score of $17,600 before Final Jeopardy—but was also one of the first victims of James Holzhauer. 

Order Your Museum and Follow its Progress


The Tiny Type Museum & Time Capsule crowdfunding campaign funded magnificently—thank you to everyone who backed the campaign and the larger number of people who provided moral support and design suggestions!

I’m now taking direct pre-orders for elements of the project. Most museum are now spoken for (about two-thirds of the edition of 100 I’m making), but you still have time to order one, as well as pre-ordering separately the book I’m writing for it, Six Centuries of Type & Printing, which will be typeset in Monotype hot metal and printed by letterpress. The museum and book are in preparation for delivery in January 2020.

Here’s where you can order the various components:

I’ve also created a dedicated site that explains the museum, and a blog that I’ll post updates about its progress to.

The Tiny Type Museum and Time Capsule

Update: The project was wildly successful, and I’ll be making elements of it available for separate order soon at tinytypemuseum.com.

My latest typographic project is now live: I’m raising funds to build up to 100 tiny type museums and time capsules! These little museums will comprise actual historical and modern type artifacts, replicas, and printing samples—like a real museum—and the case and its components will be designed to last for centuries—or longer—like a real time capsule.

The cost isn’t low, but I tried to balance the authenticity and lifespan of the project, to give it substance and longevity, with the budget. I hope you’ll take a look at the main reward of the museum, and other campaign items, which include a book and a Linotype “slug” of type.

New Book: Take Control of Slack

Trying to understand Slack? Or want to step up your mastery to be more efficient and get more out of it? I have a new book just for you! Take Control of Slack is the start-to-finish guide for Slack users you wish you had when you first fired the app up. The book covers macOS, Windows, iOS, Android, and the Web app.

I wrote this for three groups of people:

  • The new user: If you’re interested in or tempted by Slack but have never used it, this book will help you get up to speed quickly.

  • The experienced user: If you use Slack already and want to get more out of it, this book will guide you to more efficient and more sophisticated use and control.

  • The reluctant user: If Slack is a requirement for your workplace, nonprofit group, or other organization, this book will help you overcome frustration and confusion.

You can read more about the book and download an excerpt at the Take Control Books site.

Live Podcast Taping at Ada’s on January 23: Life of a Letterpress Printer

Join me January 23 from 6:30 to 8:30 as I host an episode of his podcast The New Disruptors live at Ada's Technical Books and Café in Seattle with three letterpress printers as guests to talk about making some or all of their living in the 21st century by working in the past with techniques, equipment, and type that date as far back as the 19th century and earlier.

My panel discussion features Demian Johnston, Sarah Kulfan, and Amy Redmond, and we’ll talk about their work and practices, and how they make the past mesh with the present, especially at a time when authenticity is highly prized. The event will end with a Q&A and informal discussion. The printers and I will have some of their work on hand and available for purchase. (Note that this live event will be taped for later online audio posting.)

Admission is free and no ticket is required, but space is limited. As an incentive to venture out in the January cold, the first 20 or so arrivals will receive a free pastry courtesy of the podcast, so come early!

The New Disruptors podcast features independent artists who control how their work is made and distributed in a constantly changing creative economy. It was brought back after a hiatus through the support of patrons.

Update:  A great time was had by all!  Photo by    Jeff Carlson

Update: A great time was had by all! Photo by Jeff Carlson


2018 SVC-SCH Broadsides (136 of 186).jpeg

Sarah Kulfan is a visual designer, illustrator, and letterpress printer. She is the proprietrix of Gallo Pinto Press and Beans n’ Rice where she respectively prints limited edition prints and runs her freelance graphic design business. Sarah thrives working as an independent artist and designer where the flexibility in her schedule allows her plenty of time for opting outside. Instagram: @hellobeansnrice


Amy Redmond is a Seattle-based visual designer and artist who has been using letterpress as a medium for self-expression since 1998. Her apprenticeship with Stern & Faye, Printers, cultivated an appreciation for traditional and experimental use of letterforms. Amy works as an independent art director and graphic designer, and prints in her studio Amada Press. Her work has appeared nationally in solo and group shows. She teaches at SVC and PLU. She is a 2018 GAP Award recipient. Instagram: @amadapress


Demian Johnston is the Designer and Pressman at Annie's Art & Press, a letterpress shop in Ballard. At SVC, he teaches both introductory and advanced classes in the letterpress program. His design and illustration work has appeared in The Stranger, Seattle Weekly, City Arts, and Beer Advocate. He is also the founder of the art and music label Dead Accents and a veteran performing musician in Seattle’s underground music scene. Instagram: @anniesartandpress

Radio Free Glenning for January

My appearances on actual radio (as opposed to podcasts) goes in spates. After my Smithsonian magazine article appeared about the entry of 1923 in the U.S. into the public domain, I was asked to be on several shows.

NPR’s All Things Considered emailed me for a story, but I missed the email! They riffed off my article and spoke with Jennifer Jenkins, the director of the Center for the Study of the Public Domain at Duke Law School, my stalwart source for all things public domain, and produced a very nice brief take. (A few days later NPR’s Weekend Edition did a longer and fun interview with Jenkins and her husband, James Boyle, also a copyright and public domain expert.)

WNYC interviewed me for a brief segment on the public domain that ran on January 4.

Wisconsin Public Radio had me on for a live interview on January 7 in which I was able to get a little more deeply into issues. (An issue raised in that interview: Recorded music remains under a separate copyright regime; 1922 and earlier recorded music expires from protection Jan. 1, 2022; 1923 expires Jan. 1, 2024; and then annual regular expirations happen more or less thereafter, just as with published work of all kinds. I left a comment to explain that for listeners baffled by my aside about “Yes! We Have No Bananas.”)

On Jan. 9, I recorded a long interview with WGN in Chicago for a segment aired Jan. 13 on the same topic.

Finally, I spoke recently with my friend Anze at Slovenia’s national radio network—but not about the public domain! We talked about Facebook’s devaluation of the birthday. I’ll be dubbed into Slovenian! (Updated: Here’s the link.)

Yes, We Have Some Bananas!

Updated: We sang it!

Celebrate the entry of everything first published in the U.S. in 1923 into the public domain this January 1st by singing, “Yes! We Have No Bananas,” a 1923 novelty song that is no longer protected by copyright as of midnight on New Year’s Day! The tune is a send-up of a greengrocer one of the songwriters met, who started every sentence with “yes,” even when the answer was “no.”

With the January 1, 2019, expiration of 1923 copyrights in the U.S., anyone can perform that song without license or fee (and even release a recording for free or charge for it), along with thousands of other tunes (mostly forgotten) from that year.

I’ll be leading at least one chorus among New Year’s celebrants at my house at a midnight past midnight Eastern, and then post it to social media.

Here’s the original sheet music.

(I recommend avoiding Louis Prima’s and similar versions that play up a jokey ethnic style; the song’s original lyrics celebrate inventive use of language, rather than ridicule the speaker!)

(Audio recordings have a very different set of rights, recently modernized by Congress in a remarkable show of compromise among musicians, companies, and political parties. The above 1923 recording remains under separate copyright protection—called a “phonogram” right—for several years longer. If I’ve done my math correctly, a 1923 recording expires January 1, 2024, or to the end of the calendar year 100 years from its initial protection.)