Amazing Art made of Books


Today my book comes out of its pre-order bubble and goes out into the big bad world (at Amazon US and Amazon UK). Woo hoo! If you read it and enjoy it by the way, please tell someone who you think might also like it — word of mouth means life for a new book. So please share the love!

In the mean time I thought I’d celebrate my book news with a post on amazing book art — that is art made of books, not art put in or on books. Here are a few of my favourites:

This is my absolute favourite — looking past the fact that an antique book has been used (which I really don’t agree with). But the idea of making a book into lungs and blood vessels is a beautiful way to represent how important books are to life.

Giving a whole new meaning to tea and books! This would be right at home in Alice in Wonderland….

This one is achieved by carving out parts of every page.

This one reminds me of Petra, Jordan:

A whole new way of losing yourself inside a book!

Aren’t they beautiful? If you want to find more, you can see the full page here.

One of the artists calls this a way to ‘remix’ a book — like many musical artists remix old songs into something more contemporary. I love the thought of turning something as traditional as a book into something cutting edge and modern.

It makes me wish that big publishers would find a way to send unwanted books to artists rather than pulping them. Wouldn’t be amazing if unwanted books were given a new lease of life in the form of a sculpture or some other kind of 3D art?

Incidentally for anyone interested, the practice of bookstores returning books to publishers can be traced back to the Great Depression of 1929. In light of the economic crash bookstores were (understandably) nervous about ordering new books. So, to keep business going, publishers put together arrangements whereby the stores could return any unsold books, therefore passing the risk of a book not selling to the publisher.

This practice continues to this day, and it is in part why so many books get pulped (somewhere around 77million a year – that number never fails to upset me). Large book stores can place huge orders without worrying too much because they’ll be able to return anything that doesn’t sell. Which is crazy when you think about it: no other industry allows that kind of setup in this day and age.

This is why I think the advent of the ebook is the best possible thing to happen to physical books: I firmly believe physical books will eventually reach the same status as vinyl, or even these days, CDs. Slightly niche, and bought by deeply committed book lovers to add to a carefully curated personal library. Which would mean the end of huge book orders and returns, and therefore the end of or at least a massive decrease in book pulping. Books being treasured and loved can surely only be an improvement on the current model of mass order and mass wastage.

In the mean time, I really hope that one day one of my books will find its way to an artist who will make a piece of art out of it. That would be just magical. So if you’re an artist and you like to make beautiful things out of books, come say hi!!