these are beautiful, but why would you ever do this to a book?
Okay this is something I have to answer because as a bookseller, as a bookseller working in a used bookstore, this is something I have to deal with daily. People get mad at me or express something like profound disappointment when I indicate that we recycle what we can’t use, and some of that recycling is the employees using books to make art and/or crafts like purses, buttons, collages, jewelry, etc.
You know why we do it? Because we love books. We recycle them so they can be made into new books by a company that we pay to do exactly that. We make them into art because sometimes there is nothing else you can do with them and the thought of just getting rid of them seems like a waste.
You may love books and hate to see them “destroyed,” but tell me what you, personally, are going to do with a full set of Encyclopedia Britannica from 1994? That’s 26 books of outdated information. When you have a stack of Twilight books that is literally two feet tall, is it really absolutely necessary to preserve the integrity of their bookiness? Or might it be more worthwhile to give them a second life? As a new book, as art, as something other than an object that takes up space in a store where we need as much as possible to sell the books you love and that we love too. I wouldn’t do this to, say, the Gutenberg Bible or a first edition Virginia Woolf, but something we see several times a day every day? Art is a pretty good fate for an otherwise unsaleable book.
No one is asking you to make incredible mountain ranges out of the books you love. But please consider that same love might have something to do with why people make the things they do out of books.
When I worked at a library we’d get tons of book donations from customers. We had an entire section upstairs to store them between book sales, and the staff who worked up there would still end up throwing out several dumpsters full every week because we just couldn’t keep them all. There was physically not enough space in the library for that many books. Granted, a lot of what got thrown out was old magazines, outdated textbooks, and stuff that just wasn’t relevant anymore, but some of it was still pretty cool and interesting (I used to go dumpster diving up there during my breaks, and I acquired a lot of neat vintage additions to my own library that way). And honestly, having seen what happens to these books that no one wants but nobody wants to get rid of, I think reusing them to make art is one of the better outcomes, and I’d like to see more of it.
I think people who love to read sometimes get this idea that books are sacred objects and altering them in any way is defacing them somehow—which I completely understand when you have your own collection and want to keep it in good condition and not let anyone fuck with it—but with stuff that’s just going to end up in the trash anyway, it’s kind of like honoring it by giving it a new life and imagining it as something more than just a container for old words. Y’know?