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Definitions and Terms

Artists' books are artworks that use the form or the concept of the book. Free from the constraints of traditional publishing, they are about nothing so much as themselves. They can be handcrafted or commercially printed; unique; or in limited or unlimited editions. Forms range from the traditional codex to sculptural works, or they may have audio, video, installation, online and performance components.

Source : SLQ

Artists' books are books made or conceived by artists. There are fine artists who make books and book artists who produce work exclusively in that medium, as well as illustrators, typographers, writers, poets, book binders, printers and many others who work collaboratively or alone to produce artists' books

Source : V&A Museum

Library eResources




hand stamped concertina book

Hand Stamped Concertina Book

Botanical Art Monoprint Artist Book

Sourced from Pinterest 2015.

Ephemera artists book by Karen Kunc - woodcut, polymer relief, lettterpress


Martin Antonetti is the curator of rare books in the Mortimer Rare Book Room at Smith College. He is also on the faculty of the University of Virginia's Rare Book School and is currently vice-president for publications of the American Printing History Association.
Professor Sasha Grishin discusses printmaking & artists' books in Melbourne.
Rare Printed Collections Manager Des Cowley of the State Library of Victoria shares his passion for artists' books.

Otis College Book Arts: Bookbinding: Create a "Flutter Book"

Rebecca Chamlee is a book artist, graphic designer, letterpress printer and bookbinder. She is a professor of book arts at Otis College of Art and Design. Her work has been widely exhibited and is in numerous institutional and private collections.

Tutorial Triple Flip Mini - Construction

Using Artists’ Books to Connect People | Lucy May Schofield | TEDxFukuokaWomen

Lucy May Schofield is an artist and curator of the ‘Bibliotherapy Artist’s Book Library (BABL)’. BABL is a mobile touring library, home to around 200 artists’ publications, offering a unique reading experience to visitors through a combination of mindfulness and bespoke book prescriptions. Her practice focuses on artists’ books, as vessels to communicate. She has initiated projects to encourage access and exposure to engaging art works since 2002.

Avian Dictionary .

Avian Dictionary is an artists book made from collaged chicken eggs nestled in a handmade box. It was purchased by the University of California San Diego and happily resides in their permanent collection.

Susan Mills - Garden Ledger, artist book. pages made from dried fruits

Artists' Books and Online Exhibits; Paper Arts




Artist Books 3.0
A forum for artists, curators, librarians, students, and researchers interested in artist books and the book arts.

Artist Book News
Features work by professional book artists. The contact information for the artist is on each page with their books.

Artists' Books Collection at Otis College of Art and Design
Among the holdings are books by important contemporary artists such as Ed Ruscha and Joseph Beuys as well as work by recent graduates of MFA programs in the book arts such as Sarah Bryant and Daniel Mellis.

Artists' Books DC
Artists’ Books DC is a research tool that points you to different collections of artists’ books in the Washington DC area. You’ll find descriptions and maps of the collections, as well as explanations of how to search for books and how to do your research.

Artists' Books in Reed College's Special Collections
The spectrum of modern and contemporary Artists' Books in Reed College's Special Collections and collected on this website include traditional letterpress printed books of poetry, conceptual book works, sculptural and visual works, concrete poetry, and magazine works. This unique collection, which holds significant 20th century and contemporary artists’ books, gives students and the broader population insight into the significant role artist's books have played among the avant-garde of Eastern and Western Europe, Asia and the United States, from the turn of the last century to the present.

Artists’ Books Online
Designed to promote critical engagement with artists books and to provide access to a digital repository of artists’ books in digital format, exhibits, essays, and links to other collections or resource materials for this field.

Book Arts Web
Features links to a large selection of book arts related sites on the web, including educational opportunities, professional organizations, tutorials, reference materials, and galleries with images.

College Book Art Association
Supports and promotes academic book arts education by fostering the development of its practice, teaching, scholarship and criticism

Directory of Artists’ Books Collections
A directory compiled to increase awareness of artists’ books collections. It currently contains collections primarily in the United States and Canada.

Joan Flasch Artists' Book Collection
Over 6,000 artists' publications including books, multiples, video and audio recordings, digital works and periodicals, all created over the last five decades by artists of local, national, and international significance. 

Journal of Artists' Books 
The Journal of Artists’ Books provides a platform for both theoretical and creative expression. As a forum for the study of artists’ books, JAB publishes critical and theoretical articles, reviews of artists' books and exhibitions, and commentary on conferences and and other book art-related activities. 

The Ruth Hughes Collection of Artists' Books at Oberlin College
This online, interactive exhibition features examples from the Ruth Hughes Collection at Oberlin College and was created to accompany the exhibit Show and Bestow(2010). Browse 100 artist books organized by theme.

Sketchbook Project
A global, crowd-sourced art project and interactive, traveling exhibition of handmade books. Their mission is to allow anyone to be able to participate in art and to create a collection of work that represents the current state of artists worldwide. Anyone is welcome to participate in The Sketchbook Project. Sign up, get a book and send it back.

Umbrella (1978-2008) is an online quarterly covering the arena of artists’ books, art books, mail art, Fluxus, and other multiple editions, including audio and new media.

University of Wisconsin Digital Artists' Book Collection
This database is an illustrated, descriptive index to the UW Artists’ Book Collection, with over 800 titles. Approximately 500 examples have images to visually represent the structure and/or content of the book.

Maker Space : Artists' Books

Sketchbook Project
A global, crowd-sourced art project and interactive, traveling exhibition of handmade books. Their mission is to allow anyone to be able to participate in art and to create a collection of work that represents the current state of artists worldwide. Anyone is welcome to participate in The Sketchbook Project. Sign up, get a book and send it back.

Book Arts

What exactly is book arts?... "an all-encompassing term used to describe bookbinding, paper making, paper marbling, calligraphy, letterpress printing" as well as artists' books, altered books, and mail art. Definition from: Book Arts on the Web by Cynthia L. Gregory in College & Research Libraries News April, 2004 pp. 198-200.

  • Book Arts Web The best starting point for all things related to Book Arts
  • Tutorial and Reference Links  @ the Book Arts Web
  • Definition of the Artist's Book sub-titled: BSO's (Book Shaped Objects); Art vs. Craft
  • The Whatness of Bookness, or What is a Book @the Book Arts Web; one of the most famous definitions of the term book
  • SHARP: Society for the History of Authorship, Reading & Publishing does for the history of reading and publishing what Book Arts Web does for the production of books
  • Reading Dickens Four Ways Related to new forms of publishing and reader experience--a very interesting description from an English professor published in the Chronicle of Higher Education 2 June 2009--on reading Little Dorrit on a Kindle reader, on an iPhone, in paperback and listening to an audio CD.
  • Emigre Choice Highly Recommended site; Emigre was among the first digital type foundries; this is a commercial site and as such it displays its products and provides the online means of purchasing them with an absolutely straightforward clarity and simplicity of approach that is commendable. But it also happens that the "products" displayed on this site are the work of artists, and primarily the works of the husband and wife team Rudy VanderLans and Zuzana Licko, who together have been an important and occasionally controversial force in computer-generated type design since its beginnings in the 1980s, and, through their self-published magazine Émigré (Emigre) , have been a focal point for ideas and issues on contemporary typographic practice and important in what is variously called "alternative press publications" or "artists books."