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Coffee-table books say it differently

They say that a picture or a visual image is worth more than a thousand words. That is why long before speech and writing became integral communication tools that gave civilisations a quantum leap, primitive man just drew everything he wanted to ‘talk about’. A lot of what we know about early man is largely because of these drawings and paintings, evolving along the way as hieroglyphics, pictographs – and finally writing. Perhaps coffee-table books follow the same principle, making their content more visual than written, so that it is more entertaining and less demanding intellectually. For those who wish to self-publish online, it would be good to look into the various aspects of publishing coffee table books.

Because coffee table books are usually oversized in comparison to conventional books, they turned out to be ‘misfits’ in bookshelves and had to establish their own space. Coffee tables, at first in living rooms only, seemed like a convenient option. Here it could lie flat on the table, as large as life and in full view, serving as an ideal conversation starter. Or, if nothing else as a ‘skim-and-browse’ time-pass. The subject matter in such books is mostly pictorial, with small blocks of texts. Book publishing in India has taken to coffee table books in a big way. One of the big names among them is Maneesh Media, with offices in India (Jaipur), New York, and shortly opening an office in Canada as well.

American environmentalist and mountaineer (July 1, 1912 – died Nov 5, 2000) David Brower, is often credited with inventing the modern coffee table book, with a series of books that combined nature photography and writings. He thought that only if pictures – and large ones at that – are given precedence over text, will people be able to appreciate the true worth and beauty of Nature. The first such book, This is the American Earth, with photographs by Ansel Adams and others and text by Nancy Newhall, was published in 1960. A list of book publishing companies can give us more information on the subject.



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