Issue #33 of GRAPHIC features interviews with twenty art bookshops around the world including Printed Matter (New York), Pro qm (Berlin), Section 7 Books (Paris) and so on. Distributing books from independent publishers and often producing books under their own label, these bookshops have been creating a scene for small-press art publications.
This issue is conceived and compiled as a direct response to Issue #30 "Publishers" of GRAPHIC, published last summer. What comes in your mind first when you think of a topic related to small publishers who make the most creative books of this day? Yes, it is the independent bookshops who try to give readers access to the books from these publishers, that is, independent and/or art books, which are not and cannot be found in mainstream bookstores.
The bookshops featured in this issue are based in various cities including New York, Tokyo, Melbourne, Oslo, Berlin, Auckland, London, Athens, Utrecht, Paris, Rotterdam, Los Angeles, Madrid, Tallinn, Nagoya and Seoul. With cultural characteristics of each city, they have formed their identities and have been a place for all sorts of activities from meetings to collaborations besides selling books. In other words, they have been a hub of independent publications.
Most of the bookshops covered here are not yet 10 years old. The growth of independent publishing around the world and the ever-more frequent cross-border trade of books have contributed to the emergence of these "young" bookshops. For example, it now takes only two weeks for a limited-edition photo book published in Amsterdam to arrive on the shelf of an independent bookshop in Seoul. This means that small-run noncommercial art books actually became able to reach its global readers. This issue introduces the various activities and experiences of these "young" bookshops. As a special exception, it includes the interview with Max Schumann of Printed Matter which was founded in New York City in 1976 to looks back its history for the last forty years, as it has unarguably been a significant model for art bookshops.
The reason why this kind of bookshops are important for independent publishing is because a scene or community can be and has been created around them. More and more small independent bookshops are popping up throughout the world. We want this issue to serve as a useful reference for them to make their own activities and hopefully provide some help in forming a fellowship or network among them. See you at a bookshop!
Casco Bookshop, Dashwood, Desert Island, Ivorypress Bookshop, John Simons (Idea Books), Librairie Yvon Lambert, Lugemik Bookshop, OMMU, ON READING, Ooga Booga, Perimeter Books, POST, Printed Matter, PrintRoom, Pro qm, Section 7 Books, split/fountain, The Book Society, Torpedo Bookshop, World Food Books, X Marks the Bokship