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Re: [BKARTS] People's Interests On Book Arts List


>... I signed up on this List
>thinking that "Book Arts" was just a generalized term that encompassed
>anything to do with Books. I even read many of the documents on the "Book
>Arts Web" months ago, but without some of your help I would not have
>fathomed what this topic is even about. Never heard of such as thing in my
>life before.

Not really sure I can add anything. I think of it as a very general term
encompassing many subsets, some of which you listed. You'll find that the
lines between many are blurred, and that much of what is there could be
seen as a linear sequence. Book artists, binders... need to understand many
of those.

>It seems that one definition of an "ARTIST BOOK" is
>that it should be impractical as a commercial book? But why?

Beats me. By their very nature (medium, structure, content...) some may be
impractical. However, please define commercial as the best of these can be
very marketable.

>Do people make money doing "Book Arts". Couldn't find any
>information on this. Am I barking up the wrong tree here in writing a
>commercial book to sell for $25. Could I just write and create one "Artist
>Book" and sell it for $20,000. Oh, is this field competitive and would that
>be hard to do. Or do "Book Artist" not make any money in their craft?

Ah, yes, people make money. Not always a lot, but as in all fields some
will, and many others do it for love. Having looked at your website, my
question is why make the books as physical objects and not just sell
e-books? What's wrong with making "commercial" books. You could try to make
an "artists book." Of course to sell it for $20K (US or CDN?) you would
need to establish yourself, i.e. exhibit, be published in catalogs, teach a
few workshops, sell many other books for less (or just that one if you're
really lucky). I'm not trying to be flippant here but it's not that easy.
The field can be competitive, but much of that has do (I think) with
standing out from the crowd, finding a niche, convincing a curator why they
should buy your book for $20K when that may be their entire budget for the

>Some of the articles I read discussed that a book is either an "Artist Book"
>with little commercial or often practical aspects to it, or a "Commercial
>Book". It seems that there is a strong resistance to marry the two. Why
>couldn't a "Book Artist" do cover designs for a commercial book publisher?
>But it appears that is frowned on? Is it? And why is this? I am working
>towards an elegant book design but it will be a commercial book. If it has a
>nice design would I be able to show it off as an "Artist Book"?
>Ben Wiens...applied energy scientist

I think I've noticed that. What makes you think it is so? Some artists
books are almost indistinguishable in terms of materials, structure,
and  production from commercial books. Many "book artists" earn their
upkeep doing graphic design, some with publishers. I don't see how it would
be a problem. In terms of making your books elegant, go for it. Would you
be able to show it off as an "artists book," you could try, why not? Submit
it for some exhibits and see what happens...


Philobiblon: Book Arts, Different By Design
Hand Binding, Conservation, and Project Websites
Peter D. Verheyen

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