“Depending on how you look at it, the art-book industry is either in precarious straits or the midst of a golden age,” opines ARTnews. The publication is referring, on the one hand, to the continued closure of brick-and-mortar bookstores specializing in art books, in the face of the dominance of online purveyors like Amazon. On the other hand, art galleries seem to be making steady gains into the publishing world, with “increasingly ambitious” publishing programmes. It seems these days, an in-house imprint is part and parcel with running a gallery, and these institutions are propping up the art book world, with continued exposure and a strong distribution network – not to mention financial aid.
Look at it this way: Because fewer physical outlets are selling books now, publishers are coming under more financial strain. They’re expecting galleries not just to contribute toward printing, but also to commission and pay the writers, and play a part in the book design. As a result, a lot of galleries are simply doing it all themselves, and reaping the rewards. The proof is in the pudding. Gagosian have now published 419 books; Pace Gallery, 450 publications; Hauser & Wirth, just over 100 books, and that’s just the big dogs. And one needs only to look at global art book fairs to witness demand.
Check out an interesting read over at ARTnews.