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Artists' Books, Fine and Private Press Books, and Miniature Books at RBSC

Fine and Private Press Books at RBSC

Rare Books and Special Collections (RBSC) has a number of fine and private press books in its collection.

While many of the artists and presses in our collection are from British Columbia, our collection also includes notable examples of fine and private press books from other parts of Canada and around the world. In addition to holding the published works by many BC presses, we also hold the archival records of various authors, bookbinders, and presses.

About Fine and Private Press Books

Fine press books are crafted by publishers that produce books of high artistic quality and craftsmanship. They are often published in limited editions, include unique illustrations, and use high quality paper and binding materials. According to Crane Giamo and Emily Tipps of the University of Utah, "fine press books’ physicality is part of their inherent data. Their information is not only theoretical and linguistic, but also (and often primarily) tactile and visual. Traditional fine press is characterized by letterpress-printed text, handmade paper, and meticulous typesetting." 

  • Giamo, Crane, and Emily Tipps. "Sustaining & Growing the Vision of an Academic Library's Fine Press." Journal of Electronic Publishing 20, no 2 (Summer 2017).

Private press books are produced by a small press that is most often operated as an artistic or craft-based venture rather than a purely commercial business. Private press is often a term used to describe the English Arts and Crafts movement of the 19th and 20th centuries under the influence of William Morris' Kelmscott Press.

Fine and Private Presses of British Columbia

Finding Materials: Subject Headings

Try following one of these links. These subject headings are used throughout the UBC libraries, not only for RBSC.

Finding Materials: By Publisher

Step 1: Visit our home page at

screenshot of UBC Library homepage

Steps 2-3: Select 'Books & Media' tab; click on 'More Search Options'

screenshot of UBC Library homepage with 'Books and Media' tab selected

Step 4: Select 'Guided Keyword Search' tab

screenshot of UBC Library Guided Keyword Search page

Steps 5-6: Type in the name of the publisher you want to find; apply filters for 'as a phrase', 'Publisher/Place', and 'Rare Books and Special Collections'

screenshot of UBC Library Guided Keyword Search page

Step 7: Browse results

screenshot of UBC Library catalog search results for books published by Heavenly Monkey

Related Works in the UBC Catalogue

Fine & Private Press Organizations, Blogs, and Journals