Do books matter? And if so,why?


(Review) The poor book. The poor book publisher. Is there any other industry that labours under such a poignant threat of obsolescence? Or produces such large quantities of unsaleable items? Now avant-garde artists, in their cold-hearted rites, are violently dramatizing the death of the book. According to Andrew Piper, professor of German and European literature at McGill University, artists have been cutting, drowning, soaking, piercing and shooting books to enact the medium’s imminent departure from our workaday world. At the same time, there is great interest among university students in “book arts.” Piper writes, “There is nothing like a sense of demise to spur our attention.”

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