The rare book market finds itself “no more affected by the existence of e-books than art dealers are by color photocopies. The beautiful book is a beautiful object, beyond utilitarian usage.” (Bernard Shapero)
Books should be viewed not only as reading material – a more beautiful alternative to the Kindle or iPad perhaps – but as art. It is their decorative beauty that keeps them in the home alongside modern technologies, shaping a room’s character. Introspective Magazine‘s article examines the effect of books on a room, from JP Morgan’s Italian-Renaissance style library where he used to play cards to the lobby of Williamsburg’s Wythe Hotel. By lining a room with books you are forming its character, both through decorative image and their content. You ‘have [not only an object but] literature and philosophy on your shelf’.
It is this combination of interior and exterior effect that gives the rare books trade its variety. The article brings the work of dealers alongside that of interior designers and architects, such as Thomas Jayne and Elizabeth Hardwick, who place focus on books as object. Whilst the disposable paperback may be struggling in competition with modern technology, the value of beautiful books, that hold personal or historic significance, remains high. The significance of the contents housed is reflected in the craft of the pages that make up these valuable possessions.