Reviving an obscure tradition of artful concealment
one lost chapter at a time


Spare Volume is an adaptive reuse project born from a deep love of print culture and an abiding appreciation for the aesthetics and materiality of the book form. 




Each volume is sourced locally and hand-selected for quality and condition. All have been previously read, their original purpose dutifully served. Undervalued and outmoded by the latest in digital gadgetry, they are found languishing in second-hand shops or book sales benefitting local libraries. 



Through a painstaking and proprietary process involving traditional tools and a steady hand, words are whittled away while margins are left intact, creating just enough room for your own secret stash. By nicking the middle, we poke a hole in each story for you to fill with a whole new plot of your own devising. 



Take pleasure in the transformation of an unwanted book into a handsome repository for your personal treasures, from the mundane to the taboo — anything you want close at hand but out of sight. Craft a new thriller, romance, or mystery with whatever you choose to fit between the covers.

In this era of vanishing privacy,
the time is ripe for a more durable defense against prying eyes.


The unrelenting threat of unauthorized access
jeopardizes identity and constricts the inner life.

More is at stake than mere treasure.


Vulnerabilities proliferate as sophistication increases. 
Complexity, it turns out, is leaky.

Sometimes the simplest system is the most secure.


A lock invites picking.
Its presence motivates as effectively as it deters.

The larger the lock, the greater the attraction.


And so the paradigm must shift.
Arriving at a different answer requires asking a different question.

What if there is no lock?


Shake free from the dazzle of the newfangled.
Prepare for a deliberate return to the tried and true.

Trade slick abstraction for heft and texture, fiber and fabric.


That device on your bookshelf is not obsolete. 

It is useful, and it is beautiful.

It is an instrument of enduring technology,
matured beyond its original purpose,
reengineered to hold in strictest confidence your most intimate effects.


Spare Volume

Elegant Simplicity / Keyless Security / Bound to Secrecy

There is a great purge under way.


Nearly 77 million unwanted books are destroyed each year. This mind-boggling figure counts only the destruction undertaken by publishing houses in order to clear out unsold inventory. The world's libraries and institutions add millions more to the trash heap yearly, pressured as they are to dump printed matter and make room for more up-to-date information systems.

This is just a sign of the times, of course. The world changes, and our habits change right along with it. Given current trends, by 2018 more e-books will be sold than printed books. This shift is historic, unstoppable, and mostly for the better.

Yet, while the benefits of this epic change seem obvious, the costs often go unnoticed until it is too late.

The printed book — that familiar and beloved object — is a cultural icon, laden with history, connotation, personal memories and deep connections. Call it sentimentality or even fetishism, but we are guided by the notion that the book itself retains an inherent value apart from its informational content. 

Our work challenges the short-sighted impulse to toss a book merely because the encapsulated text either fails to retain currency or has found a snazzier medium of delivery.

Just as a text can now be decoupled from the paper page upon which it was once dependent, so too should the bound volume be allowed to live beyond the text it was initially designed to transmit. 

No longer is demolition the only option; adaptive reuse becomes the new imperative.

These times will be defined as much by resource scarcity and environmental distress as by digital wizardry and technological churn. Conscientious effort to live more lightly on the earth must involve a process of thoughtful reclamation from the sea of defunct hardware in which we swim — the mass of accrued matter that has outlasted its perceived utility.

With this project, we endeavor to find new use for what is already at hand. The aim is to breathe a second life into a robust form in ways that retain its cultural resonance and historical import.

Perhaps all this is not reason enough to save the great bulk of unwanted books from the incinerator.

But shouldn't it be enough to spare a lucky few?