Are art books an anomaly in the publishing industry?

As Melbourne Art Book Fair gears for its 10th anniversary, ArtsHub asks how art and design books have survived the blow of digital publishing.
Melbourne Art Book Fair returns for its 10th anniversary. Photo: Sean Fennessy. Photo of different art books with a range of bespoke covers.

‘How would art publishing survive?’ was a question that Megan Patty, Head of Publications, Photographic Services and Library at National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) had 10 years ago. Now, as the Melbourne Art Book Fair enters its decade anniversary from 23 May to 2 June, this worry seems to have shifted into strong confidence in the industry.

Patty has been curator of the Melbourne Art Book Fair (MABF) presented by the NGV since its beginnings in 2014. She reflects, ‘It’s been amazing to watch the industry grow, shift and change, and be a part of that change over the last 10 years.

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Celina Lei is an arts writer and editor at ArtsHub. She acquired her M.A in Art, Law and Business in New York with a B.A. in Art History and Philosophy from the University of Melbourne. She has previously worked across global art hubs in Beijing, Hong Kong and New York in both the commercial art sector and art criticism. She took part in drafting NAVA’s revised Code of Practice - Art Fairs and was the project manager of ArtsHub’s diverse writers initiative, Amplify Collective. Celina is based in Naarm/Melbourne. Instagram @lleizy_