Modern Methods of Book Composition

Theodore Low De Vinne is one of the fathers of book publishing in America. He was one of the nine founders of the Grolier Club, the commissioner of the font Century, and the most prolific writer on book publishing methods in the late 19th century. In 1904, De Vinne wrote “Modern Methods of Book Composition,” a treatise on how to layout and publish books.

In 2007 the University of California Libraries scanned in the pages of this book and uploaded the files to archive.org. Archive.org is an online digital repository akin to Google Books, with over 1.5 million digitized books. After the files were uploaded the content of the book was automatically extracted and a variety of digital book formats were created, including one for the Kindle.

A piece of software was written to take a page from the original book and cover up any content that was extracted with a black box. By repeating this process for every page in the original book, a new book was created that shows only the layout of the original book, that was lost in the digital copy, and leaves uncovered the content that was unable to be converted into the digital version.

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