Friday, May 9, 2014

Jean Keller
The Black Book
Self-published/Lulu, 2013
740 pp., 14.81 wide x 20.98 cm., paperback
Edition size unknown

The way that early artists' books often dealt directly with the codex and other aspects of 'bookness', many print-on-demand artists'  bookworks tend to comment on their printed-ness, either by containing data that originated digitally (google maps, google earth, wikipedia, etc), or in this case, by referring directly to the process of print-on-demand publishing.

Keller explains:

"Ink used for digital printing is one of the most precious substances in the world. A single gallon of ink costs over four thousand dollars and this is one reason why digitally printed books are so expensive.

However, the price of a book is not calculated according to the amount of ink used in its production. For example, a Lulu book of blank pages costs an artist as much to produce as a book filled with text or large photographs. Furthermore, as the number of pages increases, the price of each page decreases. A book containing the maximum number of pages printed entirely in black ink therefore results in the lowest cost and maximum value for the artist.

Combining these two features, buyers of The Black Book can do so with the guarantee that they are getting the best possible value for their money."

The hand-off business model of Lulu allows the above text (essentially a big fuck you to the manufacturer) to appear directly on their own site, where the title is printed as needed and the artist collects his royalties later.

Buy it here, for $35.01.

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