Books are nice, I think we would all agree, but in the age of the eBook and the iPad it’s easy to glimpse a near future in which printed, hard-copy books go the way of the typewriter, relegated to dusty attics and museum collections of things we used to love. You may wax poetic, even indignant, in defending the value of a hold-it-in-your-hands-and-flip-the-pages-with-your-thumb book, but are you really going to take a stand for its value when you can curl up with a novel via the in-curvature of a pair of smart glasses?
Maybe you are. In fact, there is promising evidence here in Miami’s cultural swamp (I say that, truly, as a compliment) that printed books may remain vital long after we’re all wearing digitized undergarments. There’s the annual Miami Book Fair International, which is preparing for its 29th edition, and there’s the mobile library Bookleggers, which integrates book sharing and discovery into Miami nightlife. (Jam that concept into your next blockbuster, Michael Bay!)
And now there’s Pages & Spreads, “a meeting place for publishers, artists, retailers, and collectors dedicated to the production of books, catalogues, periodicals, and zines.” The inaugural Pages & Spreads event, organized by graphic designers Edwin Beauchamp and Augusto Mendoza, who runs the blog Books Are Nice, will take place on Saturday, January 29, at Wynwood cafe Lester’s, another local bastion of the printed page. Ahead of the event, the first in a planned series, I emailed a few questions to Beauchamp and Mendoza (denoted collectively below as P&S).
You describe the event as “a pop-up reading room of sorts” — can you elaborate on the Pages & Spreads concept and the experience you hope to create with the inaugural event?
P&S: Although the books and zines exhibited at Pages & Spreads will be for sale, what we strive for is the sharing of printed matter. We hope people come enjoy the selection!
What is your definition of a zine?
P&S: The definition of a zine is very open-ended as zines are an easy and inexpensive way to publish. Content tends to be specific to a particular topic.
Can you list a few of your favorite zines?
Mendoza: Some of my favorites come from Eric Elms, an artist based in Brooklyn. Also, Catalogue design studio from the UK.
Beauchamp: Some zines off the top of my head include qubik’s void zine (UK), Lamar Abrams’ Ferzan dr31 (Maryland), and Playground Magazine (UK)
Can you elaborate on why the sharing of printed, non-digital matter is an important end in itself?
P&S: Printed or digital, information is information. Some will argue that reading a book on your iPad is not rewarding, they like the feel of paper through their finger tips. Others like having 10,000 books readily available. The importance then lies on the preservation of the tradition. Print is dead, supposedly.
In your opinion as graphic designers and book lovers what is the importance/role of a printed object like a zine in the digital age and in the context of a local culture?
P&S: The importance is longevity. The digital sphere is ephemeral.
Why is longevity so valuable? What’s wrong with ephemeral? And isn’t cheaply printed matter like a zine ephemeral in its own right?
P&S: Longevity in terms of physicality to a certain extent. Books and zines won’t last forever either. But longevity in how the information resonates in someone’s mind is key. Digital news swiftly move from one topic to the next. You haven’t finished one article, by the time there are 25 new ones. That’s wonderful, but how much are we retaining? I can’t put my hands on a PDF, while a stack of books lives with me. I’m bound to pay closer attention.
How did you curate/recruit the participants in this first event? Can you give us some background on any three of the participants?
P&S: This event is based on Miami publishers. We wanted to have as many publishers under one roof. So we invited University of Wynwood, which publishes Jai-Alai Magazine, Diet Gallery, which makes artist books, and Girls’ Club Collection, which produces nice exhibition catalogs.
Will the printed works all be on sale at the event? Different prices for different publications? Please share more details on the buying/selling part of this.
P&S: Yes! It will work like a mini book fair. Each publisher or artist will have their own pricing.
This is the first in a planned series of Pages & Spreads events — overall what are you trying to achieve?
P&S: We want to share the tradition of publishing, and how it will continue to design new means by which to communicate.
For more information on the Pages & Spreads kick-off, visit the Facebook event page.