My latest project was to transform a bland electronic copy of a U.S. patent into a book, and here I mean a book with real paper. This is something I'd wanted to do for a really long time. I thought it'd be interesting to have a patent portfolio in book form.
When I first had the idea to make a patent as a book, I imagined that the book would be a miniature book, i.e., a book with no dimension (height, width, thickness) exceeding 3 inches. Miniature books occupy very little space while being really charming, I thought. However, when I began to set the text and drawings of the patent, I saw that the miniature size may not work quite so well if I wanted the drawings to be legible, which I did.
Patent drawings are often filed with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on a US Letter page size. If the page size is US Letter, a drawing figure may have a height of up to 9-1/2 inches and a width of up to 7 inches. Thus, I was confronted with the problem of squishing a drawing figure of, say, 9-1/2 inches by 7 inches into a space of, say, 2-7/8 inches by 2-7/8 inches (< 3 inches by 3 inches to allow for the usual space at the head, foot, and fore edge of the finished book).
I had various thoughts about how to solve the problem. Some examples are:
1. Print the drawings on a larger paper size. Then, fold the larger paper size so that it can fit on a miniature page. The folded paper can be unfolded while reading the book.
2. Make the book in accordion form so that a drawing figure may span more than one page.
3. Prepare the drawings on separate sheets and attach an envelope to the finished book. The envelope will hold the drawings.
Eventually, I decided to make the book longer than a miniature book—it was going to be less headache than any of the options mentioned above. I settled on a page size of 2.5 in (width) by 5 in (height) for the book. Although I wasn't thinking about it at the time, the book ended up being just a bit taller (~ 1/2 inches) and wider (~ 1/4 inches) than an iPhone 4.
What was new and exciting in this project was dust jackets. I made them for the very first time. Normally, I prepare book covers using book cloth.
While trying out an accordion book idea, I printed a book cover design on paper and liked it. I decided then that I'd prepare a book cover for the patent book using paper—I was confident that I could do this based on paper-covered hardcover books I had on my shelves.
I took the opportunity to order enhanced inkjet paper from Epson. But the enhanced paper was too thick—it created an ungraceful bulk at the hinges between the cover boards and spine board. The accordion book didn't have such hinges, so this was a new problem. Meanwhile, the inkjet printing on the enhanced paper was simply gorgeous. So, I decided to cover the book with book cloth as usual and to prepare a dust jacket using the enhanced paper. I was pleased with the result.
I still have trouble with miniature-type books, i.e., with widths less than 3 inches, not closing firmly. When I'd discussed this problem with a seasoned bookbinder in the past, he said it was quite a problem with miniature books. He said they had been discussing the problem at a gathering of the Miniature Book Society and hadn't quite figured out the perfect solution. He said the problem of not closing firmly may be the reason miniature books tend to come with closures, i.e., metal clasps and the like. But I wasn't so sure.
I have a miniature book I bought from Barnes & Noble, and it closes firmly. I tried to diagnose why this was the case. I noted that the cover cloth of the B&N book was thinner than the rayon book cloth I was using for my books. The paper of the text block was also thinner. I also noted that the spine of the text block was glued to the spine of the cover. While I do not intend to glue the spine of my text block down, I may try working with a thinner book cloth to see if the book will close firmly.
Figuring out what to name the book was as exciting as making the book. I thought of the book being a volume in an Inventor's Library. I should be making more volumes of the Inventor's Library in the future.