Jonah Weiner: With your Caro profile, you make a choice to visit the guy who binds and designs Caro’s books, and he talks about making these books for years, and how that industry itself has seen so much change over the time Caro’s been producing these books. It’s a great nugget. How did that idea come to you?
Chris Jones: When I started that story I didn’t know that much about the ecosystem that surrounds those books. I knew about Caro, I knew about Bob Gottlieb, but I didn’t know about Lynn Nesbit and the bookbinder. As I did the reporting all these names came up and it amazed me that the same little army of people worked on these books for so long. We live in such a transient age that I was struck by that.
So I thought I’d go talk to Andy Hughes, the bookbinder, whose father by some quirk was Caro’s lawyer. I love building stuff, I’m renovating my house myself. I love the idea of creating tangible things. So talking to the bookbinder, that’s right in my wheelhouse. He’s pulling out these books and I was fascinated by this idea that someone has to actually build books. These are made, they’re objects. And I loved how he talked about them and how much he cared, and I loved that Caro’s books had gone on so long that the process of bookbinding had changed three times. And he’s showing me the differences with each book and I was super dorked-up, like, This is awesome. In some ways I wanted to write a whole story about Andy.