I continue to be absolutely fascinated by the publishing industry's choice of what sort of art books should make it to the shelves and endlessly puzzled by why excellent books go out of print.
a sample of art books on the front page of Amazon's Art, Architecture & Photography section
If the economic reality is that it's not economical to produce books other than for the masses then I would suggest that the question then revolves around the means (technology) and ownership of production and publication - and the scope which now exists to produce books economically for niche audiences.
My personal view is that art book publishers might need to be a bit more aware of the variety of people out there who like art books which are maybe not quite the same as the ones which are usually on offer. How big are the niche markets?
So this month's poll attempts to identify preferences for different types of art books
Recognising that it's unlikely that people have just one sort of art book they buy, I'm making the poll multiple choice and mixing art instruction and art history. This is partly to see whether people lean more towards developing their art or learning from 'how to' books or by looking at and reading about art produced by others.
This poll really ought to be more sophisticated than it is but I thought we'd try this one for starters
The options - and you have a multiple choice - are:
- step by step basic books for beginners - the type which major in step by step pictures of how to paint a picture and are typically short on text
- basic principles books for beginners - more text than pictures
- 'how to' for intermediate level - tackling a topic for those who have gone beyond beginners books
- 'how to' for advanced level - tackling the topic at art school level
- 'how to' for very specific topics - such as painting water or a specific genre or a specific technique such as use of colour or composition (assume media is covered at the basic/intermediate/advanced levels)
- contemporary exhibition catalogues - relating to artists (eg Rothko or Banksy) or recent art movements
- art history exhibition catalogues - whether or not you saw the exhibition, whether or not the exhibition is current
- books about an artist - such as Vincent van Gogh
- books about art movements - such as the Impressionists or the Hudson Valley painters
- any good quality art history book - anything and everything relating to art history so long as it's good
Depending on the answers this poll may be developed further next month. Please feel free to suggest how it could be developed.
I'd love to hear about:
- what sort of book makes you want to buy it; or
- what sort of books you buy without thinking twice
- anything else you'd like to say about what sort of art books you like and can't find.