The other night, I attended a reception and dinner for an exhibition
of work by an artist who is no longer living. We produced the
accompanying book—a handsome, substantial effort.
The exhibition is impressive. Many museum members and out-of-town
visitors extolled the work, the selection of the paintings, and the
installation. Smiles and congratulations came from all around.
I watched the family of the artist pick up their gift copies of the
book as they left the dinner. Several clutched them, almost as though
they were holding onto their mother, their grandmother, their aunt—
the artist herself. This was a physical symbol of the woman they loved
All of the content in that book could be stored and presented
electronically, but would it be held with the same regard? Would it
command the same respect? Would it evoke the same affection?
When emotions are involved, books have the edge.
by Ed Marquand