I've also identified the best new books published last month - and these are being listed in my new website The Best New Art Books (update to be published later today)
Major changes in book listings in February 2011
The major change I've noticed is the vast increase in the number of Kindle books online. I mean VAST!
If the categories were confusing before - hence why I started my monthly exercise to identify the best books - the situation is getting ever more complicated. The net effect is that this is going to have a significant knock-on effect for the book market and the financial health of book publishers. I explain why below
Plus Amazon really needs to sort out how it categorises books! At the moment Amazon mixes the different books into hardbacks, paperbacks and Kindle books - and then mixes them all up again. That in principle is fine. It's the basic grotty categorisation of books which is causing the problem. The art categories are now completely cluttered with every new Kindle book which confuses "arts" for "art" or might have "art" as a keyword somewhere in its description even if it's a novel.
Can you tell the filter exercise was a tad tiresome this month?
The net effects of all of this are as follows:
- Kindle books - offered at much cheaper price - are swamping the best selling lists. Since many of these books were published some time agoit's no longer a reflection of what is good and NEW
- people are going to need curated lists more and more if they're not going to miss gems lost in the silt of the Kindle outpourings
I'm in the process of creating a second Kindle list - which will also try and incorporate what's going on with Apple's ibooks. Tricky - and not resolved as yet.
Other points of note
Painting: Many congratulations to James Gurney (Gurney Journey) who tops both charts in the painting section - his book Color and Light: A Guide for the Realist Painter is the best selling painting book in February and Imaginative Realism: How to Paint What Doesn't Exist is the the top rated book.
[Quick aside: James today announced a 3 day painting workshop - see Painting Workshop Announcement]
The main beneficiary in February is Pam Carriker (Living Art at the Speed of Life) with her book Art at the Speed of Life: Motivation and Inspiration for Making Mixed-Media Art Every Day. Take a look at her blog and this will give you some insight into the nature of her book - this is her gallery of journal pages
Largely self-taught, my work is reflective of the more than 20 years of experience using a variety of mediums and has been published numerous times in Somerset Studios, The Stampers’ Sampler, Art Journaling, Somerset Apprentice, and Cloth Paper Scissors and I serve in the Directors Circle for Stampington & Co.
- Alyona Nickelsen (Colored Pencil Painting Bible: Techniques for Achieving Luminous Color and Ultra-Realistic Effects)
- Alyson B Stanfield (I'd Rather Be in the Studio!)
Note that if you want to get to the top of top rated you need a lot of fans. Being online means you have the chance to accumulte a lot of fans. However that means active on the Internet, having a dialogue with fans and being generally of a caring and sharing mentality!
Art History: I'm still tinkering with the filter for art history - not least becase Amazon and other fails to even recognise this as a category. In Amazon UK you can find all the related topics listed under "Art Issues".
Nevertheless when I review the listings in different ways it's two "oldies but goodies" which come top - The Story of Art by: E. H Gombrich and Ways of Seeing by John Berger. One gets the feeling that maybe somebody has just issues an academic reading list!