Google Books, a boon to letterpress?

Hi All,

Thought I’d share this. Over the past few weeks since google books was launched on December 6th, I’ve been actively searching for online digital copies of books related to letterpress printing, typography, etc… My online library now has about 150 volumes selected related to printing, including past copies of The Inland Printer, the training series for printing apprentices, and other volumes. If you’re looking to expand your knowledge about printing, most of these were written when letterpress was largely the only significant printing method.

You can start here at the jumping off point for books on practical printing:,+Practica...

I’ve been reading them on my iPad in the evening, and on my smart phone during commutes, but you can also read them right in your browser.



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Google Books actually didn’t launch on December 6th, it’s been around for at least a year and they’ve been scanning books for even longer. But I agree that it’s a magnificent resource for letterpress.

If you haven’t looked yet, I would highly recommend searching for type specimen catalogues.

Happy Hunting!


Here’s a jumping off point for papermaking:

Megan is right, the books project has been around for a long time. I should have been more clear. They launched their Google eBookStore and reader for iPad and other mobile devices on December 7th of this year.

Some other jumping off points:

Typography books:

Mechanical Typesetting (monotype, etc…):



and Printing Presses:

Here’s the jumping off point for printing type specimen books:

I tried a while back, but have never gotten anything from googlebooks except a crashed browser. The Internet Archive on the other hand has many printing related items, in various formats, and I haven’t had any problems there except for an occasional corrupted download.

Google has “Polk’s Vocational Printing” and “The School Printshop”. I used Polk in school in the 40s. It is a good all around introduction to letterpress for novices. I was able to save them as PDFs.

Oh, thanks a lot Alan! You just made me really want an iPad.


Yeah, Alan, thanks a lot! I’ve been resisting the iPad, but since you’ve pointed out that Google Books are viewable on it, I’m hoping that Santa is reading this post.


I’ve had a large library of old/public domain printer’s books as favorites in my Google Books Library. What Google just did was create Google eBooks, an eBook reader app to compete with Apple’s iBooks and Amazon’s Kindle. While they’re likely behind on adding current content, they have a leg up with the huge catalog of material they’ve been scanning for years. I downloaded the Google Books app for my iPod touch, went to my library and selected some favorites to transfer/sync to Google Books. Now I have Charles Leforest Dunton’s Pressroom Hints and Helps and Charles Thomas Jacobi’s The Printer’s Handbook of Trade Recipes, Hints & Suggestions on my iPod!