Book 2013

Alex Olivier

Book 2013 is series of handcrafted, responsive e-reader covers in conjunction with an android app that situates book arts in the digital age.

As e-readers become more popular, many bibliophiles lament the decline of the traditional tangible book in favor of anonymized gadgets and apps. Book 2013 explores how technology can be used to leverage an equally valuable, but modernized branch of book arts. A series of protective covers for e-readers, each Book 2013 cover reacts to a user's reading habits in a different way. Whether displaying book progress, current book title, or a favorite quotation, Book 2013 is able to dynamically create a new cover for digital books. Each cover in the series uses a blend of traditional book arts and e-textile technology to preserve the feel of a traditional hardback book.

I drew visual inspiration from traditional book covers, especially the Penguin Modern Poets series. I spent a lot of time researching paper-electronic interfaces and materials, including the Novel Architecture project from High-Low Tech, Jie Qui's various paper electronics tutorials, and Hannah Perner-Wilson's blog. Technically, I spent large amounts of time readings about Kindle hacking and Android programming.

I wrote an Android app and created several book covers with embedded electronics. For each book cover, I physically constructed the cover (cut bookboard, covered it with fabric and paper), built a wooden tablet frame (lasercut, glued, sanded and oiled wood), and painstakingly applied electronics to inside cover (painted ICs for aesthetic effect) and fabric covering the outside (embedded actuators, sewed LEDs, used steel thread/thermochromics).

I learned so much about physically making books and book covers as well as creating beautiful circuits on paper. I I think that I achieved my goals aesthetically, but would really like to increase the level of data that i can display on my covers. After getting a lot of feedback, I've decided to explore the deeper social ramifications of my project. I want to extend the project beyond the design explore ways to create more meaningful moments between people through technology.