Skip to Main Content
The University of Edinburgh home
Show/hide site search
Information Services

Artists' Books

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

Library News and Events

Information about Library news, training, events and service updates.

Academic Support Librarian for ECA

Keep up-to-date with the Library!

Some videos to watch!

You might find these online videos useful:

1: Speaking Volumes: women in the artists' book collection, Dundee. Part of the Dundee Women’s Festival 2024. Watch on Youtube here.

2: 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.

3: "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!

4: 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. 

5: 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.

The Speakers included: Priya Pereira of Pixie Books; Julie Johnstone of Essence Press; David Faithfull, and Mark Addison Smith.

6: 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.

7: 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.

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, take a look at the Scottish Visual Arts Group blogpost "What Are Artists' Books?" here 

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 

UWE also has a student research resources site

The V&A Library webpage on artists books is useful. 

Bookworks is a specialist publisher in the artists' books world.

Helen Douglas and Weproductions is one of the leading artist's book makers in Scotland.    You can access her book  A Venetian Brocade on Youtube. And you can access Two Field Books here.

Ian Hamilton Finlay and Wild Hawthorn Press is another very important Scottish artist book maker and publisher.

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 our art related databases here

Another really useful journal you can access free online is Inscription: the journal of material text - theory practice history.      

Internet resources

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


The Edinburgh Zine Library is an archive and reference collection of contemporary zines, founded in 2017, and as a volunteer-run collective it organises the annual Edinburgh Zine Fest. Find out more here

The Glasgow Zine Library is located in Govanhill. They have a great collection of contemporary zines, and organise the annual Glasgow Zine Fest. Find out more here.

The DJCAD Zine Library is located inside the Finlay Collections Room of the Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design Main Library, Dundee. Find out more here

The annual Fruitmarket Art Gallery artists' bookmarket and Edinburgh zines festival is a popular event held over 2 days each Spring (usually in February), at the Fruitmarket Gallery, Edinburgh, and is a great place to buy zines and talk to makers.

The Edinburgh Zine Fair is an annual event, for everyone interested in making and buying zines, and small press books, pamphlets, and artbooks. For 2023 the Fair will also include workshops and performances. For more information go here.

Typewronger in Edinburgh offers risograph zine making workshops at Edinburgh Palette (St Margarets House, 151 London Road, Edinburgh). More information here.



Typewriter art

Are you interested in typewriter art and publishing? Take a look at TYPEWRITTEN, a series of works published by Joakim Norling of Timglaset ("publisher of visual poetries") in collaboration with contemporary authors and artists. 

Gocco and Riso printing

Are you interested in learning about riso or gocco printing, to make your own books or zines? Take a look at:

The New Gocco Guide: creating with print Gocco, by Claire Russell, 1997

Low Tech Print: contemporary hand made printing by Caspar Williamson, 2013

You can find these on DiscoverEd here.

There are lots of riso or gocco workshops available, for example take a look at Goccomatic at Out of the Blue (Edinburgh).



Avoiding plagiarism

Looking for images?

Looking for theses and dissertations?

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