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I was reading an e book and began thinking about how different it is from reading (or owning) a printed book. True, the words are there but once the power is shut off and the screen goes black it’s almost like the book doesn’t exist. A printed book is still there. It remains in our physical space. We touch it, feel its texture, smell the paper, pack it away, and unpack it. Lying open or closed on a table, tossed onto the backseat of a car or squeezed between others on a shelf, it becomes part of our visual diary. 

Why paperbacks? Paperbacks are often the first books we own and they influence our lives early on. They are (or used to be) inexpensive. They’re democratic—widely available and easily shared.

With that in mind I began asking people that I know to lend me their favorite paperback book(s) to be photographed. Each image features their name prominently below the book in recognition that it is someone’s personal possession that has stood up to time and not merely a prop used for graphic appeal or notoriety.


This is an ongoing project and I continue to encourage submissions. As the books are photographed they are placed on this web site and a selection of prints will be made available for exhibition.

"Maybe nobody will care about printed books 50 years from now, but I do. When I read a book, I'm handling a specific object in a specific time and place. The fact that when I take the book off the shelf it still says the same thing – that's reassuring."
- Jonathan Franzen
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