The story

TOC is the product of our belief that important literature deserves books made of the finest materials, using the most sophisticated printing techniques. At a time when most reading has become a fleeting experience, we will create a more permanent space for important thoughts and ideas, by lodging them in handsomely printed books. Our books – placed on a curated bookshelf – will be a quiet place in today’s information pandemonium. But we shall also choose books that spur lively dialogue with other readers. TOC focuses on contemporary literature, books that will form the canon of the future. 

The books are printed in limited editions, signed and numbered –  individually designed to enhance each text.

The author Irene Dische is a founding member, Birgit Schmitz is TOC's publisher. TOC's list will be devoted not only to the finest authors and their texts, but to  books that are particularly relevant to our time.  

At TOC, designers Erik Spiekermann and Susanna Dulkinys have combined the advances of modern typography with the quality and artisanship of centuries-old book printing. While classic letterpress offers a pleasant analog reading experience, its limitations, including the high cost of traditional metal type setting, have so far made it prohibitive for modern book production. By transferring the layouts onto polymer plates with our in-house laser setter and improving print quality, step by step, on a Heidelberg Cylinder press, we combine the virtues of analog and digital processes. This results in the best of both worlds: refined digital typography and a smooth analog reading experience.

All TOC books benefit from Erik and Susanna’s expertise and ongoing curiosity in typography, design, branding, and making books. Individual layouts and type choices complement each text and will make reading even more of a joy.

In our pursuit of making beautiful books, we have put time and effort into finding and using the best materials. For example: we are partnering with Gmund, a paper mill founded in the early nineteenth century on the shores of the Tegernsee, Bavaria. For decades, Gmund has been working to develop the finest quality paper, with environmentally sustainable processes.

TOC books are printed in Berlin-Adlershof by Daniel Klotz at ‘Die Lettertypen’ on an Original Heidelberg Cylinder Press from 1954. This press remains the pinnacle of precision. Daniel has spent 30 years in the printing business combining the latest digital technologies with traditional letterpress methods, following our motto “Preservation through Production.” Daniel is responsible for all production aspects. He also oversees binding and finishing our books at Buchbinderei Müller in Leipzig.

Erik on a proofing press.

Layouts transferred polymer plates with our in-house laser setter.