A small Gonville-based publishing company is uncovering historical and niche arts publications and reprinting them for a contemporary audience.
Small Bore Books was born in Wellington in a converted gun club but has really come to fruition since Emma Bugden and Frank Stark moved to Whanganui this year.
“I guess we were able to put it into practice when we moved here. Before that it had been an idea,” Bugden says.
“I think that publishing – like journalism – has changed radically. In a sense, anyone can do it now.
“What we’re interested in is bringing things back. Stuff that has been printed and has been in a sense forgotten about.”
Small Bore Books publish out-of-print art and design journals and its debut publication was a reproduction of a 1982 artist book from Mary-Louise Browne called Black And / Or White, White And / Or Black.
“It was a book she was interested to republish because she’d had quite a lot of interest from younger artists in that work, and she actually no longer had a full copy of it herself.”
Small Bore Books has five others in production, including an anthology of a New Zealand pottery magazine from the 1950s and 1960s.
“That’s sort of looking at the original issues and copying some of the articles to make an anthology publication.
“We’re not interested in art history as such, we’re not commenting on the past. What we’re doing is taking something from the past and sort of reinserting it back into what people are doing now – into a contemporary situation.
“Basically, pointing at things, is what I think of it as.”
And the readers are there.
“There’s this kind of myth that everything’s online.
“I think there’s a huge value in the physicality of books and the intimacy of books.”
The content Small Bore Books is publishing is probably only possible on a small scale and that’s the way it will stay.
“For us there’s freedom in that because we can do every aspect of it,” Bugden says. “We typeset, we do the design, we print it, we distribute it.
“It means we have a freedom in what we publish so we can publish things a big commercial publisher wouldn’t look at.
“I think publishing is like music. There’s been a shift away from needing someone else to make something happen for you. That’s kind of interesting to us that you can do it all yourself.”