“The Printer” monthly magazine

We have tried for 2 months to contact “The Printer” as to why we have not received an issue for over a year, although our subscription is still valid. Has Mike Phillips passed away, and/or has the magazine ceased publication?

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He’s done this before. Somewhere late 70, early 80’s he did the same thing. Just disappeared. No “The Printer,” no answers to my mail. I wasn’t quite as forgiving a soul then as I am now. Out went the letters to the sheriff, the postmaster (even with Michael and Sally Phillips, operating from Box 1402, Findlay, Ohio) and to city hall. Nobody, but nobody, knew Michael J. Phillips.
Then somewhere in the late 80’s or early 90’s, I started getting copies of a suddenly-reincarnated “The Printer,” that were rubber-stamped “SAMPLE COPY” on the front page. I sent those back to him with notes that wouldn’t have passed the P.O. inspection!
I sold my years of accumulated issues of “The Printer” on ebay a few years back. I recall years back with our heading to
Cedar Point, Kings Island or? and stopping at a theme park called Ghost Town, in Findlay, which had a print shop building of I believe Phillips’.


Current listing of his in the AAPA website under the heading of Letterpress Printing, Museums, Shops, Local Groups, and…:
The Printer
Michael J. Phillips, Editor-Publisher, 337 Wilson Street, Findlay, OH 45840 USA; e-mail: [email protected]; Phone: 419-422-4958; $30 a year for 12 issues; $55 for 2 years; $80 for 3 years.
I’ve asked the AAPA to remove that listing, don’t know whether it’s been done or not!
We have a street address, and a phone number, which I assume is correct. How about a registered letter or a phone call to his home as he’s probably evicted from his PO box!

Good luck.

The Printer has had subscription irregularites for a long time, but sadly has never learned from the experience. I gave up after a second lapse in delivery. Both times I wrote and explained exactly what issues were missing, I even offered to buy them as back issues, and each time Mike sent an issue I already had as replacement.
As much of the content is something I have already read on the web, even many of the ads, I wondered, why bother?

When The Printer first began there wasn’t an awful lot of print resources out there. So it had significant value. For the most part it was a compilation of other print sources, though usually compiled without permission. Michael did not believe in copyright protection. I personally know of an incident where he barely escaped getting his clock cleaned by the skin of his teeth. He actually believed he was doing no harm.

With increased use of the web for communication, Michael began to switch over to the easier target (letterpress forums) Unfortunately, increased use of the web also meant less interest in print media. And he never quite figured out a way of putting the newsletter up on the web in a way that would generate money for the effort.

I’m not sure if it is still a viable concern, but I was getting PDF sample copies of The Printer via email as of last year, as I recall.


Last couple years The Printer has cost more to produce than income. Internet is the instantnet. Instant news and free ads on numerous sites. One site has over 100,000 participants. Seems The Printer is redundant. Our savings have been trashed. We are not the sort to explain or complain. Our statement of mission was to help save items from being scrapped. Hundreds of ads have been sold and given gratis toward this end. Briar Press is one such digital site with the same mission and does very well with this mission. Obviously it is difficult to sell ads and subscriptions whilst the instantnet seems to have saturated eleven out of ten homes. News on the instantnet letterpress support groups serves letterpress well. Before these posts turn into a screw top whine and cheese event, we thought we would explain.
Mike Phillips

From a historical perspective, The Printer was a god-send. The entire development and growth of the post-letterpress period of the last several decades is laid out clearly in its pages.

Thank you for that Mike.


The internet drives a print publication dedicated to classic printing out of business.

It seems we live in the Irony Age.

If you want irony, practically everything in that publication was being swiped off of the internet.


Rick, you are not a subscriber. Material in the newsletter came from many sources including the instantnet.

to mike phillips: in good faith, I mailed you a check to renew my subscription, so in good faith on your part, I
expect the return of these funds. to not do so would constitute mail fraud, avery serious federal offense. i’m a very easy to get along with guy, but i don”t like being bilked.- by the way that check was mailed in november of 2011. hoping for, but not holding my breath, a return of my money. gerald jenny, the four dogs press.

Gerald, I am easy to get along with too and do not like getting bilked and I am being bilked. Might contact postal. I hope I get my money and hope to forward same to you.

We are not out of business but in process of making plans to do print and/or internet publication. If we stop publication before all subscriptions expire than it would seem or be perceived, even after 25 years of doing the newsletter, that we are committing a criminal act. So we hope to publish again to let clock run out on subscriptions.


I am not a subcriber. Never was, never will be. I’ve heard way too many Micheal Phillips stories over the past 25 years. None good. Many bordering on the criminal.

Instantnet?!?!?! How cute. Speaking of cute, how’s Sally doing?

Too harsh? Words can’t probably express the contempt I have for you and the things you’ve pulled over the years.


Well, I for one have to thank Mike. Over a decade ago, in one issue of The Printer he was ranting about the international conspiracy of plastic plate printers intent upon destroying letterpress or something to that affect. I was so pissed off the very next day I launched PPLetterpress!


Through the printed word Mike did more to further the photopolymer plate process than he could ever have imagined.


Rick vonHoldt, You have a enough hatred of us to start your own religion!

Gerald - Glad to hear it, you have been a Godsend for the photopolymer world.

Mike - No real hatred, mostly sadness. The one thing I will never be accused of is backing off from calling a spade a spade.


Re: PPL. Got a few private responses to this one so, once and for all. Yes, you could consider the name PP scatological (some folks have). It is also internet (not instantnet) speak for “people” (ppl). It is also engineering short hand for photopolymer plates (pp). Take your pick.


Thing is, plastic is older than wood. Plastic derived from petroleum from decayed wood and such millions of years ago. This is how yuppies make peace with plastic. So plastic cuts or plates is older than wood. Photopolymer plates from proofs of rare type or puter generated new faces and then to old presses is a joyous mix of old and new.


Thank you for your succinct explanation.


I let my long-time subscription to the Printer expire a couple of years ago. In my opinion, ever since the Heidelberg lady moved to Germany there wasn’t anything in the publication that was worth the price or any price. Not to mention that the last few issues I got were printed in such small type that you almost needed a magnifying glass. That’s not what I consider enjoyable reading.

Michael Phillips:
Not wanting to sound like a complainer or misleading people…or ranting and raving about anything, I’d just like to be my usual, cordial. care-free guy and ask you:
What in the world does the fact that plastic is older than wood, plastic or anything about photopolymer plates have to do with you skipping out on you subscribers? You didn’t have you speck of courtesy, respect, or decency; or a minute to answer the inquiries from your stranded subscribers. Now you have loads of time to write about PP and plastics and other BS. Not a hint of an apology, just a bunch of &%$# about starting up again as a print or Internet publication.
Why don’t you just admit to your mistakes, take a quit exit, flush, and be gone.

“Why don’t you just admit to your mistakes, take a quit exit, flush, and be gone.”
I hope to resume publication.
“Not a hint of an apology, just a bunch of &%$# about starting up again as a print or Internet publication.”
I apologise for internet and health problems. So what do you mean about a bunch of ….. starting again in print and or net?
I merely made a reply to Gerald about plastic. Why do you find that difficult to understand?
So you have never had health problems, net problems or other lifequake problems? You think I eat steak three times a day or live in a million dollar house or drive a Rolls?
I take solace that in 25 years I have helped save tons of type and equipment.

Previous contributers to this thread.
You have all contributed well to the perpetuation and advancement of the craft in other postings. I believe the final bell has rung on this exchange. Please retire to your corners and take a nap. In future if you have an issue with another, please wash it out in a private exchange. That is not to say that if you have a disagreement with another on a method or process, you cannot post your views. It is just that we should do so in a courteous way.

So, is there some other letterpress periodical still extant?
Even foreign would be of interest.
W & L

Parenthesis, published by the Fine Press Book Association is still a going thing. Just received issue number 22 a couple of days ago. Most of the practitioners represented in its pages are letterpress fine press book printers. You have to be a member of the association to receive the publication, but well worth it.


Hi there all. My apologies, but is this a private thread? I thought i should let someone know that all members can read this, and it seems like it should be private.. Perhaps a permissions gliche?

Cheers, and good will to all, ~Sonya~


Well, this is a discussion list. It is not Facebook (hands over eyes, over ears, over mouth). It does NOT have a LIKE button as a replacement for critical thought.

If folks have a concern it should be allowed to be expressed.

I assume you never subscribed to (or supported) The Printer?


Hi there Gerald,

Thanks for your reply. No complaints or frailties here, just thought perhaps it wasn’t for general discussion, but if it was, then no probs…

I happened on this thread because a friend suggested that The Printer mag might be useful. I see here that perhaps I should leave it for now until things settle one way or the other.



PS. I also enjoy true critical thought :)