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Re: [BKARTS] Reflections on bookart and commerce



on 7/4/03 7:00 AM, Kevin Driedger at ksdriedger@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx wrote:

> To the outside buyer, the difference between your book and a trade paperback,
> is that you intended your book to look that way.

The difference is that I made it on my kitchen table

> People have to "get the joke" of your intention (I don't mean that what you
> are doing is a joke,

It's a joke. I find it really amusing to create something that looks
official. In a small way, it's my homage to both Warhol and J. S. Boggs
<http://www.ozwei.net/boggs/et_covey.html>, who put the Treasury in a tizzy
with his hand-drawn faithful representations of American money.

> but that they have to understand and appreciate your intention.)

I assume that the collector will know what he or she is buying, just as they
do when buying a 1943 VE copper penny.

> Then you go on to say that "Ultimately, this book will find a mainstream
> publisher who will give it the larger audience I think it deserves." So then
> you will have a trade paperback edition of a book intended to look like a
> trade paperback.
>
But there's a clear distinction between the two, isn't there? That's the
joke.

> Then you have the line "Nonetheless, the value of my book does not lie in its
> physical craftsmanship, but in the way the sophistication of its content
> reflects the author's individuality." which seems to me to undermine your
> angst about the book's physical appearance, or am I taking content too
> literally? So we have serious, sophisticated contents in a mimicked,
> industrial shell.

There's no conflict. Trade paperbacks are often intellectually very
sophisticated. They used to be called quality paperbacks, and were just
hardcover books without the hardcover.

It doesn't take all that much physical craftsmanship to bind a book this
way. The craftsmanship is in the design itself. Self-published books usually
have a certain bogus look to them. So do vanity press books. They fail to
adhere to the nuances of style that identify a mainstream book.

No parody of, say, The New York Times, that will convince a New York Times
reader for more than a minute or two. The house style is so detailed that no
individual or even group can imitate it perfectly. The standards are
executed by many people working together, often according to company
folklore rather than written policy specifications.

If I am doing my job properly, the only way you know that it's bookart is by
my signature and, perhaps, some explicit hints, such as the notice, "This
book was made and printed by the author especially for Kevin Driedger on
July 4, 2003 at 7:24 a.m."

> Jules, you've given me something to think about this morning. thanks.
>
You are very welcome. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to clarify my
thinking on this. I will get to the other very interesting replies soon.

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