On 21st August 2012 Ashley Rawlings and Craig Mod launched the digital edition of Art Space Tokyo. As well as releasing the book online it is also now available across all digital publishing platforms. The original version of Art Space Tokyo was a 272 page guidebook published in 2010 covering the museums and galleries in and around Tokyo. The book focuses on 12 galleries and areas of cultural interest and features essays about the Tokyo art scene and interviews with directors, curators, collectors, art fair organizers and artists. As outlined by Rawlings, ‘Art Space Tokyo is now more than just a book: it’s an ever-growing online resource on the Japanese art world’.
Art Space Tokyo- hardcover reprint. Photo credit Kickstarter.com
After the publication of Art Space Tokyo, the first edition, Mod and Rawlings turned to the creative funding organization Kickstarter in order to gain the resources for a reprint and iPad version. Fast-forward to present day and the digital edition can be bought on Amazon, iTunes (for iBooks) or Barnes & Noble. There is in addition the option to buy a set of DRM free ebook files directly from http://read.artspacetokyo.com/. Alternatively a free web version is available.
Mod details the design process of each platform in an essay entitled Platforming Books. Explaining the reasons behind each mode of publication, Mod talks about enabling readers to look at the book in full for free. His proposal is that if such a vast resource is so readily accessible more people are likely to invest in the book in time.
Art Space Tokyo- digital editions. Photo credit Craigmod.com
Referring to the two distinct ecosystems in which Art Space Tokyo now exists, the book is split into ‘open (the web)’ and ‘closed (iBooks, Kindle and other E-Readers)’. The open section is designed to be active and engaging, and as defined by Mod, ‘a touchable home’ for Art Space Tokyo. Encouraging interaction on the website whilst introducing a newer shinier version of the original text brings Art Space Tokyo’s re-invention into a class of its own. As emphasized on the site ‘we purposely broke the strict linearity of the physical Art Space Tokyo. The ambition is to extend the content indefinitely in more organic ways’.