More and more these days, as Kindles, Nooks, and iPads abound, the path of e-books toward ubiquity and the decline of old-fashioned, hard-copy printing seem confirmed. But there is one area where paper and glue still dominate: the world of zines and artists’ and art books. A walk through the annual New York Art Book Fair or this year’s inaugural mirror event in LA, or a trip to Chelsea bookstore Printed Matter, speaks to this: electronic offerings are rare in these places. In fact, e-publishing may even be seen as incompatible with the mission of promoting and celebrating grassroots, alternative, DIY creativity.
A recently launched Kickstarter, however, hopes to change that. Titled “The People’s E-Book,” the goal of the project is to create a simple, efficient, inexpensive tool for creating e-books; or, in other words, “What the photocopier was to zines, we hope the People’s E-Book will be to digital books,” says project creator Greg Albers in the video.
Although I’m a die-hard paper book enthusiast (and plan to remain so until the end), I’m really intrigued by the idea of the People’s E-Book, particularly because of the opportunity it seems to offer for creating zines and artists’ books from net art and other online creations. How cool would it be to have an artist’s book of GIFs or videos, to have the images and words in a book be fluid rather than static? “What is an eBook?” Albers asks in the video. Imagine the possibilities.