Andrew AlbaneseArs longa, vita brevis – Art is forever, while life is short. Art books have enjoyed long lives, too. Collectors and art lovers have made them mainstays of coffee tables and bookshelves for generations. In digital form, though, the keepsake quality vanishes – leaving art book publishers to wonder how much time is left for them.

“E-books remain something of a head scratcher in the world of artbooks, with little sales traction despite the production of beautiful – sometimes critically-acclaimed – digital publications,” reports Andrew AlbanesePublishers Weekly senior writer. As he tells CCC’s Chris Kenneally, PW has just completed a survey of art book presses to learn if they’re embracing the digital future, or running from it.

“Art book publishers are doing the groundwork to build in-house expertise in digital publishing in hopes of being ready when the audience for digital art publications arrives.” Albanese says.  “While it looks challenging, it’s heartening to see theses publishers investing in these solutions rather than simply waiting for others—Amazon, for example—to come along.”

Every Friday, CCC’s “Beyond the Book” speaks with the editors and reporters of “Publishers Weekly” for an early look at the news that publishers, editors, authors, agents and librarians will be talking about when they return to work on Monday.

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