Art Book Publishing Tips (+18 Publishers To Reach Out To)

POSTED ON Jan 11, 2023

Jackie Pearce

Written by Jackie Pearce

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There are different rules and requirements for art book publishing compared to traditional books. If you’re an artists, you’re going to need to find a publisher that specializes in art books.

Art books are generally different due to their overall design and the fact that they rarely have much text inside of them.

You’ve most likely seen some sitting at a coffee table for people to flip through. They have beautiful pages, sometimes with text sometimes without.

We’ll be going over what makes art books different, what artists need to know when it comes to getting their books published, how to create a query, and then ultimately a list of publishers to potentially work with for your book.

What Makes An Art Book Different?

Art books on their own are a completely different kind of experience than traditional books.

Instead of walking into an art gallery, publishers try to recreate that feel in a book form. Publishers know that the look, design, and feel of an art book needs to stand out on its own.

The pages are going to be printed on the highest quality paper using the highest quality ink, so the art translates well to the page.

What Goes In An Art Book?

What fills the pages of an art book is up to the artist and the publishing company.

Some artists prefer to have some text throughout their books and some use only images. Some have history, as we often see in art books for college courses.

Art books are as unique and as creative as the artists creating them. You will rarely see a standard look for art books since they also need to capture the artists’ style.

If you’ve ever flipped through a book sitting on a coffee table, it is most often beautiful, high-quality photos of the artists’ work.

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Art Book Publishing

One of the biggest choices artists will have to decide is if they want to go the self-publishing route or the traditional publishing route.

You might choose to do both throughout your career, but making that decision as you’re putting your book together can help you navigate your next steps.

There are pros and cons to each path, which are longer than this article could get into (but here’s a great primer on the debate).

The main things you will need to think about are:

  • How much creative control you want over your publishing. With self-publishing, you have full control, but maybe you do want help when it comes to organizing your book.
  • What do you want to use your art book for? Sending out to friends and family? Reaching a wider audience? You might only need a handful of copies, which would be worth it for self publishing but most traditional publishers want to sell more than a handful.
  • How soon do you need the book done? Are you trying to promote your art and need some copies immediately? The traditional publishing route can take quite some time so having a mental timeline can help you decide which route you should go.
  • Are you just using it for a portfolio?
  • Do you want some writing in it to tell stories or include some writing? Or will they just be prints of your art throughout the book?

You might even choose to self-publish a small book of your art so you can carry it with you to show your art. Sometimes that can be easier than bringing your art around, especially if you create large pieces.

Putting Together Your Query

Before you start reaching out to publishers, you’re going to need to put together a query or a main reason why they should want to publish your book.

The most important thing you want to think about and answer is, “Why should this publisher care about my art book?” If you can answer that, you’re going to find publishers open to reading your query.

That’s the main thing an editor is thinking about when they read your query, so if you can answer that you’re already going to stand out.

You will also need to start thinking about which pieces of your art are going to be published or not. Take the time to figure out how you would like the flow of your pieces to work together or which ones you think absolutely must be showcased.

Publishers for Art Books

Let’s now dive into specific publishers so you can find one to publish your art book.

#1 – Phaidon

With over 1,500 titles in print, Phaidon is one of the biggest art book publishers. Originally founded in Vienna in 1923, it has maintained a legacy of publishing high-quality work in all different art mediums.

#2 – Smallworks Press

Smallworks Press is an independent publisher located in Las Vegas, Nevada. They publish a variety of fine art and culture books.

#3 – Taschen

Taschen is an art publisher based in Cologne, Germany. They focus on publishing luxury art books but also making sure art is accessible to people around the world.

#4 – Art and Theory Publishing

Art and Theory publishing is located in Stockholm, Sweden. It is a newer publisher among this list as it was launched in 2012, but it has quickly gained notoriety as a publisher.

#5 – Abbeville Press

Known for their oversize art books, Abbeville Press has been in business since 1977. They publish around twenty new titles every single year.

#6 – Hatje Cantz Verlag

Based in Berlin and started in 1945, Hatje Cantz Verlag publishes books in art, photography, architecture, lifestyle, and design

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#7 – 2nd Cannons Publications

2nd Cannons Publications is based out of Los Angeles and has been publishing artists’ books since 2008.

#8 – Rizzoli Publications

Originally known for opening the Rizzoli Bookstore on 5th Avenue in New York City in 1964, it eventually opened a publishing branch in 1974.

#9 – ACC Art Books

ACC Art Books publishes a ton of books that don’t just include art, but they focus on everything under the umbrella of visual culture. This includes things like travel, food, children’s books, and so on.

#10 – Lund Humphries

Lund Humphries has been publishing art books since 1989, mostly from contemporary artists.

#11 – Perimeter Books

Based in Melbourne, Australia, Perimeter is an award-winning art publisher. They publish a wide variety of art mediums.

#12 – Abrams Books

Abrams Books was the first US publishing company to start publishing art and illustrated books.

#13 – Siglio Press

Siglio Press focuses on publishing uncommon books, especially ones that expand the mind of what readers think about and challenge conventional ideas.

#14 -Prestel Publishing

Prestel Publishing is a leading publisher in art, photography, and architecture books.

#15 – Art / Books

Art / Books publishes artists books from a variety of mediums. They publish anything from limited editions to scholarly publications and everything in between.

#16 – Ugly Duckling Presse

As a non-profit, Ugly Duckling Presse tries to find “forgotten” or harder to find artists and writers to publish.

#17 – Bywater Bros

Based out of Toronto, Canada, Bywater Bros publishes a wide variety of art books, which you can see on their website below.

#18 – DelMonico Books

DelMonico Books was started in 2008 and has published an impressive 450 titles (and growing).

What To Do Next

Ready to design your book cover?

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Jackie Pearce

Written by
Jackie Pearce

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