Are Not Books is a micro- publisher and an academic research program. As an academic research program, Are Not Books is a practice- based inquiry into publishing as critical graphic design. “Graphic design” here being defined expansively, as having to do with the combined written and visual elements of knowledge production (not to be confused with, or limited to, the communication or documentation of knowledge).
All Are Not publications are available to read online at no cost. They can also be purchased as print- on- demand paperbacks at the cost of printing (without a publisher’s markup).
Print- on- demand technology allows each copy to be produced as an independent edition. Editorial changes can, and often are, made between each printing. In this way, books become hybrid objects — simultaneously print- and- digital artifacts. Each book looks final, complete, and total, while remaining partial, contingent, provisional, and mutable.
Our method for taking each publication “to market” follows very closely a strategy described by curator and critic Anthony Huberman:
Trust in the self- selecting process whereby those who are interested in what [you] do will find their way to [you] and get in touch.
Our goal is to facilitate cultural transactions that are not based on competition, measurable “success,” or the accumulation of capital. We are interested, instead, in a gift economy made up of sympathies; of “friends who care.” This will necessarily involve smaller groups of people, as Huberman puts it, and “if that sounds apolitical or timid, it isn’t.” Huberman quotes critic and curator Jan Vorwoert on this topic: “a culture governed by the economic imperative makes [a withdrawal from competition] the closest you might get to civil disobedience.”
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