'Oh Look, a Ferry'; Or The Smell of Paper Books



Driscoll B & Squires C (2018) 'Oh Look, a Ferry'; Or The Smell of Paper Books. TXT, (5), pp. 64-70. The Book Issue.

One of the ways in which people express bookishness is through a declaration of love for ‘the smell of books’, a phrase that evokes nostalgic attachment to print. Rather than accepting, critiquing, or deconstructing this familiar rhetoric, our research proposes a non-traditional response. As researchers, when people have brought up the smell of books, we have redirected the conversation by gesturing towards ferries. The diplomatic non-sequitur ‘Oh look, a ferry’ has become a catchphrase that we have extended metaphorically and literally. In this paper, we report on a range of arts-informed experiments, including a YouTube channel, pyjamas, and a manifesto. These creative, playful experiments suggest ways of expanding discussions about print and e-books amongst academia, industry and members of the public. Our research suggests that arts-informed experiments can produce tools for thinking about the materiality of books, thereby contributing towards the development of book culture epistemologies.

bibliosma; book culture; bookishness; materiality; print books

TXT, Issue 5

Title of seriesThe Book Issue
Publication date31/12/2018
Date accepted by journal15/05/2018
Publisher URL

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Professor Claire Squires

Professor Claire Squires

Professor in Publishing Studies, English Studies