The UK’s more hardcore bibliophiles are likely quivering with excitement as we speak. No, Any Amount of Books on Charing Cross Road hasn’t decided to give away every mildew-stained Evelyn Waugh novel they’ve been hoarding for free, and no, the government haven’t announced a radical new plan to pay the nation’s carrier bag clad basement dwellers a stipend for picking up – but never buying – hundreds of dogeared histories of occult activity in Wiltshire. The reason why book lovers are wandering around with beatific grins on their faces is simple: this week sees the return of the London Art Book Fair to the Whitechapel Gallery.
Over eighty publishers are getting ready to plonk their glossy wares on trestle tables. Outfits who’ll be setting up stall in east London for a few days include Aperture, Hoxton Mini Press, and David Zwirner Books. As the exhibition’s name suggests, the focus will largely be on publications that fall into the art book sphere, so expect chunky monographs, coffee table future classics, and the kind of obscure little oddities that might pop up in editions of our very own Bookshelf series in the near future.
In addition to the books on sale, there will also be collaborative workshops, publisher-led seminars and family-friendly activities. If that wasn’t enough, the Whitechapel team have asked small press specialists magCulture to curate the magCulture Quarter, a space dedicated to exploring the best of today’s independent print press, showcasing magazines as varied as The Gourmand and Real Review.
Given the proliferation of publications in this day and age, we were intrigued by the kind of magazines that get magazine buffs going. So we asked the magCulture creative director, and veteran print connoisseur, Jeremy Leslie what makes a magazine stand out in 2018.
“Today’s magazines are notable for their high design and production values – they are beautiful things,” he says. “But to really stand out they have to back up that physical identity with a strong editorial identity. My favourites at the moment – Eye on Design, a Dance Mag, Anxy – use a tightly defined niche to examine broader themes that appeal way beyond their niche.”
The fair runs from 6-9 September at the Whitechapel Gallery.
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