The Art UK Shop has recently started selling a curated range of art-inspired and art books.
Selecting just a few titles from literally all that are available was no walk in the bookshop, let me tell you. But having the opportunity to really appreciate the wealth of fascinating and beautiful books in the world got me thinking. Aren't books meant to be obsolete by now?
Once upon a time, the physical book was widely predicted to be on its way out, the inevitable victim of a society embracing new-fangled technology and the ability to store hundreds of titles in your back pocket. The e-reader was the whizzy new-gadget-on-the-block, and the e-book was the future of reading.
Of course, in the post-Kindle world, we now know that it's not that simple. The plucky book has proven itself far more resilient than most people dared imagine. It's particularly heartening that on today's struggling, cash-strapped high street, bookshops are expanding, diversifying and flourishing. In 2020, even that gobbling internet behemoth isn't necessarily the threat it once was.
And as World Book Day, celebrated in the UK on the first Thursday in March, continues its fantastic mission to provide every child in the country with a book of their own, so the joy of reading is being fostered in the younger generations. The future of the physical book has never looked so secure.
Needless to say, I am very relieved. I have a weakness for beautiful books – if it's cloth-bound, foil-blocked and exquisitely illustrated, I must have it. And thankfully I'm far from alone. The book industry has weathered social and economic storms primarily because people just love books. It's all about the feel, the smell, the cosiness and the bookshop experience; it's about decorating your home, and as much as we may hate to admit it, it's about showing off!
Art books are a genre that e-books could never have hoped to make a dent in. If ever you needed to experience the full-sized page, reading insightful text alongside a carefully selected illustration, it's with an art book.
The Art UK Shop book range features titles about art movements and artists, as well as critical writing and children's books. It covers a wealth of popular and more obscure subjects and expands on many of the topics covered on Art UK. Whether you want to know more about women artists, brush up on your knowledge of sculpture, or just pick up an exhibition catalogue, you'll find something in the Art UK Shop. You can even browse by location.
Own your own copy of enduring classics such as E. H. Gombrich's The Story of Art and John Berger's Ways of Seeing, adorn your coffee table with the Royal Academy's stunning Abstract Expressionism, and pick up creative lifestyle tips from Will Gompertz in Think Like an Artist – books that, in my opinion, must be experienced in all their physical, fresh-off-the-press glory!
The Art UK Shop directly supports the museums, galleries, charities and trusts that care for the nation's art. Choose physical books, and please choose the Art UK Shop.
Alexandra Colton, Online Shop Officer at Art UK