Having myself co-published a non-standard book with a crowd element to it, I was intrigued to find out about Art Space Tokyo, a collaboration between journalist Ashley Rawlings and publisher/designer Craig Mod. They started off in 2008 by publishing a hard-copy book on Tokyo’s art scene, taking the reader through reviews of galleries as well as accompanying neighbourhood tours.
Then in 2010, they funded their second edition via Kickstarter, raising about $25k. Next, the digital edition came out in 2012 and is very interesting. Mostly for me because it makes all content from the book available for free. All reviews, essays and interviews can be read from the comfort of your chair at home as well as on-the-go, using fully responsive technology for your reading pleasure on mobile devices.
It is doubly interesting for its innovative take on digital publishing (the web version comes for free whereas you can pay for native editions, all of which look beautiful). Thanks to the write-up of Craig Mod, you can glance deeply into the thinking of a digital design native who has played with physical books and their adaptation to the digital world.
One great self-published book I held in my hands recently was this one here on modern architecture and urban planning in China (“How the City Came to Mr. Sun”). I would be thrilled to see the book published digitally with additional and updated material, the stunning photography and informative graphs. China is changing rapidly, especially its cities. Successful as the book was, I’m sure the Dutch duo will push for a second updated edition. From then on, though, an online version could be just what this project needs.
Anyway – the bottom line is that what counts is the content, beautiful design and strong digital delivery across platforms. I love hard copies. But the way that the guys of Art Space Tokyo have made their material outlive the redundancy of printed material (powerful on the page of this closed art gallery here) is striking and a great example for other projects.