Books on books about books for books

 [Image: Exposition "Do You Read Me?" à l'elac]

Do you read me? No. I bought you and now you sit on a shelf amongst the other trophy books. But why? I love books! ...or I think I do...
I mean I love how Arial is tilted at 30 degree angles alternating across your cover. I love your freely placed images dancing into the gutter and off the margins. But I don't understand you. What are you about? What are you worth? Why are you simultaneously exciting to look at but boring to read?

There are way too many boring books about internet culture, internet art, memes, hastags, tweets, etc... Printing off the internet or what amounts to one's image aggro Tumblr into a book in monotone for images that are otherwise stunning on our HD screens is, to me, an illogical and inappropriate use of the book medium. A lot of designers do this. It is a trend within a trend (and I love trends). I understand self-publishing limits the ability to print in multiple colors and one is left with that restriction to work against. That's all fine. What I find disappointing is the lack of consideration of context and the pursuit of self-serving publishing. As an art object, the book can act as a piece devoted to no-one or only the creator (Tauba Auerbach's artist books come to mind), but I'm talking about commercial books to be sold, made by graphic designers not artists. These designer books join in the history of the book as a symbol of status and luxury and it's pretty obvious that many designers are engaged in the pursuit of some sort of acclaim associated with publishing. There is a do-it-all-by-yourself mentality prevalent in the designer publishing culture that I think is detrimental to the quality of the content. D.I.Y. doesn't have to mean all-by-yourself. Maybe this comes from the artist zine culture, sort of a misunderstanding that got mixed in. Either way, collaborate. Work with a writer. Find people. Help people express their ideas. Help other people understand those ideas. Yes, there will always be a niche of collectors and fellow designers, but if making a book for a book about books in the bookshop is where the project ends, we've not done our jobs as designers communicators in 2012.

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