E-reader Library Series #4
Found book binding, leather, cloth, paper

Private Collection

The emergence of electronic devices that can store multiple books can seem like a revolutionary development in the storage and use of texts. The ability to carry around multiple volumes is not really a new concept; people have been carrying around multiple books for centuries. Instead of being stored digitally, these portable libraries stored physical books in a trunk or traveling case that could be moved from one city or place to another. While the e-book makes information more accessible than ever, people do not form a deeper connection with the object that seems to come only from interacting with a physical book.

A mutilated and discarded 1830’s schoolbook was used to form the travelling bookcase that contains ninety-eight books. The books were fabricated from paper, cloth and leather and each opens and functions like a real book. They were constructed and decorated to look like a library that had been amassed over many years and includes historical structures like alum-tawed pigskin, full and quarter leather, full cloth and paper bindings. This is a physical representation of the texts that an e-reader would hold. However, it is in direct contrast to the electronic text because these books have physical form but the pages are blank so there is not text. This allows the viewer to form the connection with each book that seems to be lacking in the electronic version. As the digital form disappears from the user when the power is turned off it is difficult to form any real attachment. The impermanence of the text leads to questions about how long the information contained in the book stays with the reader – does it disappear almost as quickly without the attachment formed with a physical book.