A red book with an image of a large book-binder

The Book Bindery

by Sarah Royal Author

Sarah Royal spent some time working in a Chicago book bindery, and writes candidly about her experience there. From the get-go, she dispels any of our illusions of book-making fantasy, "It's a glorified Kinko's..." and gives us a guided tour of her work and co-workers. It's funny—especially the snippets of dialog—and it's full of beautiful photos of the bindery. Sometimes the humor is at the expense of her co-workers, or those in the bindery's hilariously out-of-control neighborhood. If you like stories about quirky employees interacting, or killing time on the clock, then this book is for you!

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Comments & Reviews


If you associate things like "soul-crushing" and "menial" with what you do, you'll definitely appreciate this book. Somehow the author avoids coming across as a ghetto-tourist fascinated by the lives of the proletariat—it's the manipulative managers and company values that she understands to be the real adversary. It's a difficult balance to strike without patronizing the people who're stuck in these jobs, but given that the book is written from an inside-looking-out perspective it succeeds in creating a realistic looking snapshot of a lifestyle that is sadly becoming a daily reality for an increasing amount of people.


Continues in the long tradition of the irritable labor zine, with its laugh-out-loud tales of mischief, slacking off, stealing time, and sneaky insubordination. When she adds in the local color--tales of mobsters setting cars on fire in the neighborhood and nutbar naked dudes squatting the parking lot--it rounds everything out to a well-told and hearty tale of work, both familiar to anybody who's had a shitty job and quite unique.


Seriously one of the best zines I've read in a while. So much bang for your buck.


I read this memoir of the bindery with a combination of a stupid grin and milk-shooting-out-of-the-nose laugh. Honestly, good work, it is fucking hilarious.


really funny characters.. describes a bunch of fun stuff you can do on the job and get away with.. shakes things up. rad.


Awesome zine! A must read!


i almost missed my train stop because i could not put this down!


freaking AMAZING!