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Artists' Books

A guide to finding information about artists' books online, and about the ECA Library collection of artists' books, photobooks and zines.

Library Services Update

This Library Services page will be kept up to date with information about access to the library collections, online access to teaching resources and how to get further help.

Academic Support Librarian for ECA

Some new videos to watch!

New! You might find these online videos useful:

1: Nature Works: an exhibition of artists' books at the Upright Gallery, Edinburgh, December 2021. Take a look at their Instagram with daily mini videos of each artist's book.

2: "In Focus: Ed Ruscha at the Getty". Click here to watch a great introduction to the work of Ed Ruscha, featuring Twenty Six Gasoline Stations, which happens to be where the ECA Library artists' books collection begins!

3: Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art: Artists' Books collection: a video tour. Click here to watch a great video exploring some of the treasures of the SNGMA ("Modern Two") artists' books collection, including works by Natalia Goncharova, Claude Cahun, Henri Matisse, and Tauba Auerbach. 

4: Speaking Volumes: a miscellany of artists’ books was organised by the abcD (University of Dundee Artists’ Books Collection) curator Matthew Jarron and featured an afternoon of talks and ‘show and tells’ from practicing artist book makers including Priya Pereira, Julie Johnstone, David Faithfull, and Mark Addison Smith. You can access the recording of this lively and engaging session here.

A recording of a live online event exploring abcD (artists' book collection Dundee) at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design, University of Dundee. The event featured an introduction to the collection by curator Matthew Jarron and presentations by four artists represented in the collection - David Faithfull (Scotland), Priya Pereira (India), Julie Johnstone (Scotland) and Mark Addison Smith (USA)

5: Poet and artist’s book maker Thomas A. Clark of the Moschatel Press recently released this film to introduce his new publication The Threadbare Coat: selected poems, edited by Matthew Welton, published by Carcanet Press.

In this film, Thomas A. Clark discusses his new Carcanet collection of poetry, The Threadbare Coat: Selected Poems edited by Matthew Welton, his writing practice, eco-poetry, and reads some poems from the book.

4: Art and the Playfair Library: Speaking to Absent Volumes: a 2020 artists' books project:

Working in collaboration with the University of Edinburgh Library’s Centre for Research Collections (CRC), third year School of Art students from Edinburgh College of Art (ECA) were asked to make artists’ books inspired by, or drawing references from, the volumes that once graced the shelves of the Playfair library. 

For full details including video interviews, and images of each book made, click here.

Keep up-to-date with the Library!

Introduction to Artists' Books

ECA Library has an artists’ books collection of around 1500 artists’ books and zines. If you are planning on visiting the library to consult an artist's book please check the website for the latest opening hours and access information before you travel. All of our artists’ books are listed on the online catalogue, DiscoverEd

In the meantime here are some online resources that can help with your investigation of artists’ books as a medium:

For a great definition of the artist’s book, by GSA Librarian Duncan Chappell, see

For many blog posts about our collection see ECA Library blog:  

Glasgow School of Art Library Artists’ Books collection Pinterest site:

Scottish Visual Arts Group blog directory of artists’ books collections in Scotland:

If you are interested in bookbinding take a look at Bound in Edinburgh.

University of the West of England (UWE) bookarts site (includes The Blue Notebook, a journal all about artists’ books):  See also their Newsletter at

UWE also has a student research resources site:

V&A Library:


Helen Douglas and Weproductions:



Ian Hamilton Finlay and Wild Hawthorn Press:

Artists' books by Helen Douglas, Hans Waanders and Alec Finlay

Artists' books by Helen Douglas, Hans Waanders and Alec Finlay on display at ECA Library. Photo by Jane Furness.

Key texts, journals and journal databases

Key texts held at ECA Library:

  • 1000 Artists' Books: exploring the book as art, Sandra Salamony with Peter & Donna Thomas, Quarry Press, 2012
  • A century of artists' books, Riva Castleman, Abrams, 1994
  • The century of artists' books, Johanna Drucker, Granary Books, 2004


  • Key journal held at ECA Library, Evolution House:
  • The Blue Notebook

To find online full-text journal articles on artists' books you could also search the art related databases here

Internet resources

A selection of very useful websites for finding out more about artists' books:



Avoiding plagiarism

Looking for images?

Looking for theses and dissertations?

We have various databases dedicated to searching for theses and dissertations.