A Book That Celebrates The Tactile Thrills Of Print

Fully Booked extols print media’s tactile, artsy strengths: intricate folds, pop-ups, embossing, and bindings.

“Let me state this for the record: the Internet is not dead. Digital will not disappear. Print will not kill the web.” These statements are laid out in bold red, right on the white cover of Fully Booked: Ink on Paper, a new hardback from Gestalten, and it’s such a familiar trope that it takes a moment to register the clever turnaround. The rest of the essay, which extends for pages into the interior, further imagines a world in which an emerging print media model threatens a long-standing digital world with new concepts such as linear narratives and the gift of space, smell, and tactility. It’s a nice setup for a publication promoting the uniquely physical experience of tangible publications.


Each of Fully Booked’s five chapters celebrates a different role of the medium: the incredible cover art of “the storyteller,” the myriad forms featured in “the showmaster,” the beautiful learning guides of “the teacher,” the engaging-against-all-odds reports featured in “the businessman,” and the archival possessions of “the collector.” From front to back, the book is a trove of intricate folds, playful pop-ups, bindings, embossings, and effects that just don’t come through on a screen. There are keepsake posters and a collection of recipes etched into sheets of pasta. Interactivity of the sort you just can’t get online.

An exhibition accompanied the release of the tome, in Berlin, with many of the featured projects on display. If you couldn’t make the trek, or if you haven’t had a chance to score your own copy of Fully Booked, click through this web-based slide show to get a glimpse. There’s a moral in here of course: Each type of media can and should be viewed as a genuine boon to the last. A new platform is not a death knell for the previous one. As the book’s opening essay concludes: “These are clearly complementary functions of existence … Indeed, it might be said that we are entering a new golden age of reading in all its forms.”

Buy Fully Booked here for $65.

(h/t It’s Nice That)