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Charnel House edition of Innocence featured in New York Times

December 21, 2013

Joe StefkoThe Limited: Hardcovers, paperbacks, ­e-books — the combined lists include them all. But what about collectible limited editions, wherein a specialty publisher produces a small run of books to an exacting standard, often by hand? (Think of the old leather-bound Franklin Library titles, for example.) The Times doesn’t track those, since by their nature they sell in numbers too small to register. That doesn’t mean they never intersect with the best-seller lists, though. One such publisher is Joe Stefko, the owner of Charnel House books in Catskill, N.Y., who for more than 20 years has printed limited editions of Dean Koontz’s novels. Stefko, 58, a former drummer for Meat Loaf, got interested in fine books when he played with the Turtles. “Other bands had drug dealers coming to their dressing rooms,” he told a music fan site some years ago, “and we had book dealers coming to ours.” As you’d guess from its name — and its address, P.O. Box 666 — Charnel House specializes in horror, and Stefko has designed covers with protruding fangs (for Christopher Moore), real bullets (for Stephen King) and deep fingernail gouges (for Tim Powers). “These are commercial books,” he told me in a phone interview, “but I turn them into fine art.”

Read the full article @ This article will also appear in the Book Section of the Sunday New York Times for December 29, 2013.