First, the visitor touched "Ear" of Ear. Egg. Yam. Coconut.. Maybe picked it up and read it. Smiled. Next, they scanned and found a title, A Fight for Chocolate. Flipped through it. Finally, noticed the bags of D.I.Y. Collage Books and thumbed through those. What was going on?
I mentioned this to the graduate students in the Letterpress Writing class I am teaching this semester, and one immediately plucked out this explanation that now seems obvious.: Touch. Reading. Then colors. The senses. Tactility, content, visuals. Of course. These are what we are looking at as we make books, and so, it seems, what people are looking for when they confront them.
At one point I was frustrated that people weren't handling the work, so I made a sign, "The books are sturdy! Please pick them up and read them!" A man pointed to it and said it was a good reminder. I felt a little silly, though. Every time I thought of something, I would make a sign. I began to wonder if I just needed a table of signs. Except that's exactly what I had in the books themselves. Each book signaled something. Only a few were successful at a distance.
Meanwhile, after selling some of the books, I still have many more left. Check them out at nevermindtheart on Etsy. Here's what a sample of the do-it-yourself collage book looks like. Instructions for a pamphlet stitch, a pre-punched, two-page booklet of cardstock, some colorful waxed linen thread, scraps of painted paper, ephemera, and old stamps are all included along with some random words that can all by cut, torn, arranged and glued to the booklet. Might make an interesting party favor.
Ear. Egg. Yam. Coconut., an older set of tiny bookettes from 1987, is coming to Etsy soon. They are aging a bit, but still readable, and definitely touchable.