28 August 2010

small businesses - indy booksellers

Printed Matter, Inc.
195 Tenth Avenue, New York, NY 10011

My online pal and art-chapbook impresario Billy Miller turned me on to this bookstore. Printed Matter promotes itself as "the world's greatest source for artists' publications" and after seeing their storefront in person, I may have to agree.

From their website's description:
"Printed Matter''s mission is to foster the appreciation, dissemination, and understanding of artists' publications, which we define as books or other editioned publications conceived by artists as art works, or, more succinctly, as "artwork for the page." Printed Matter specializes in publications produced in large, inexpensive editions and therefore does not deal in "book arts" or "book objects" which are often produced in smaller, more expensive editions due to the craft and labor involved in their fabrication."
I was able to make a visit last June, and found myself in awe at the variety of creative and original chapbooks on sale in front, but that delight paled after seeing [only for a moment] the second half of the store with a library-like tableaux of art books, most of them of fairly recent publication.

Don't go there seeking those glossy "livres de luxe" [often printed in China or Italy] that sell in mass market booksellers as lures to get you in the venue.

Printed Matter’s founders subscribe to the idea of the artist''s book as "artwork for the page," focusing on publications produced in editions of one hundred or more. They envision these publications as democratizing ~ and inexpensive ~ artworks that could be consumed alongside the more traditional output of paintings, drawings, sculptures or photography. The art books at the shop are not simply catalogues of pre-existing work, but works in their own right.

The organization maintains a public reading room where over 15,000 titles by 5,000 international artists are available for viewing and purchase. In addition to being a wholesale and retail distribution hub for artists’ books, they offer a free consulting service to libraries, art institutions, and art professionals involved with artists’ books throughout the world.

I'll go there again. First I have to build a new set of bookshelves, maybe even a new room on the house; then increase my line of credit on the mortgage/equity; then thrash that out with Bruce... because even if the individual volumes are inexpensive, I might want to buy many.

Printed Matter is also the sponsor of the NY Art Book Fair, scheduled for November 5–7 at MoMA PS1, Long Island City, Queens. Free and open to the public, the Fair hosts over 200 international presses, booksellers, antiquarian dealers, artists and publishers from twenty countries, offering the best in contemporary art book publishing.
IMAGE CREDITS: 1- Printed Matter storefront Le Cool Cats Blog; 2- Jillian Lauren's Blog, an ongoing monologue from a decidedly interesting author and mom.


  1. Figures that would be your POV. What was it you are always saying? Bruce says you have too much stuff, you say not enough space?

  2. This is such a wonderful place to visit, and so supportive of emerging artists. Will, you should see if you could get a chapbook published and sold there.