I am happy to see somebody finally, in mainstream media, talk about digital art publishing.
I don't really agree with the article that digital art books need to do anything very fancy to become successful, like comparing different versions of a painting or whatnot. Look at regular ebooks: 50 Shades or Wool certainly didn't have to do anything technically unusual to become hugely successful! I think there are just a few things slowing down the take-off of the market of art books:
- Like the article says, the snobbery about books on paper is much more so in the so-refined world of art lovers and art dealers. But this will change as times change.
- Money. Art books were never very lucrative. But then here is where digital can really help: there's no need to pay for thick paper, expensive six-color printing, and expensive shipping. Art books will gain even more here than regular books.
- A good tablet. I've written about this before: the iPad 3 or 4 with the high-resolution screen is almost good enough for art books (and comics, and text books). But not quite. I believe we need a 13-inch, light-weight iPad to really enjoy graphically heavy books. And I'm looking forward to getting it.
- A mental change about image size. They must look to comic books, where high resolution is becoming the norm now. You can zoom in and admire individual panels, and they look great. A comic book is often over 200MB, whereas the few art books which exist now are usually one tenth of that.