In my work as a researcher in the field of artists’ books, I encounter new books on a daily basis. Artists send information on their publications to go into the Book Arts Newsletter or the biennial Artist’s Book Yearbook, or write about their work for our journal, so I have the privilege of being able to survey activity regularly. Collaborating with artists, publishers, curators and academics in the field informs my own practice as an artist and my understanding as an educator and researcher. Discussing the past, present and future of the book in the digital era is a constant topic for anyone involved in the field. It can be energetic and passionate, dismissive and divisive. Post Generation Y, will physical books still retain their functional value? Or will they become a romanticised relic of the past? In our university library many of the books on students’ reading lists are available digitally, for parity of access, but as creative practitioners, the students insist that they want to read them (and view the images they contain) on paper, and to be able to concentrate on the text off-screen. So we have both. I believe, and am hopeful that as long as there is still a relationship between the physical acts of printmaking, printing ink onto paper, and binding, that the practice of creating (and consuming) books will continue for the foreseeable future.
Bodman, S. L. (2021). Spending time within books. In C. Benjamin Schulz, V. Hildebrand-Schat, & K. Bazarnik (Eds.), Refresh the Book: On the Hybrid Nature of the Book in the Age of Electronic Publishing (221-245). Leiden, The Netherlands: Koninklijke Brill NV. https://doi.org/10.1163/9789004443556