“Our model is to make beautiful books at relatively low runs, that are really well-researched and really beautifully-produced. We wouldn’t be able to that if we were doing it conventionally.”
TB: Tony Brook (co-founder of Unit Editions)
JT: Design Weekly interviewer
JT: What are the inspirations or books that you have to produce a specific book?
TB: Well quite often there are subjects that me or Adrian, we discussed them,
What we figured is that, if we think they’re gonna make great books, then there’s somebody there that’s gonna think that too; and so far, we’ve been proved so right. Even when the books that weren’t necessarily, obviously books that you would think that people would like. Like we did a couple of books that were user manuals. So in the bigger identity of the 60s, 70s, and 80s, you would always do a big user manual for early designers to use to show how to apply it. So it sounds really dry and serious, but I have always really liked them, and thought they’d really make a great book. But I didn’t have confidence that people would really buy them, I just thought that would really be an important subject. But it has been one of our best sellers. So you just never know, really. But we can only go by making books that we really believe in and we think are important.
There are no rules, you can never tell that what’s gonna be successful or what’s not gonna be. You don’t know, you just have to try it.
JT: 這樣說的話，即使Unit Editions經過了八年的營運，仍然一而再地重複試驗階段嗎？
JT: That being said, after eight years of Unit Editions, are there still a lot of trials?
TB: Yeah, I’d say so. You know at some degree that, say, we were told by an establishing publisher that nobody bought monographs, so nobody bought books about designers. Now, that might be true if you want to sell 20,000 copies, but we only make 2,000 copies. And our biggest sellers has always been monographs. So people love the stories of designers, and it’s a great example for their own careers to read about other designer’s stories, of what they did and how they did it.
TB: 完全相反，書籍扮演的角色跟人們的想像完全不一樣。我的理由建立在很安全的事實上，舉例來說Unit Editions賣書給中國、日本、智利、阿根廷等等的國家，也就是全世界。我們從這裡（倫敦）賣書到世界上不同的國家。所以沒有科技，Unit Editions永遠不會存在。而這個就證明了書籍是人們所推論的相反。
JT: There has been theories or talks about books might be dead in near future, what do you think about that?
TB: We’d say that it has done the total opposite of what people, I think, suggestively might, for a safe example, Unit Editions, we sell books to people in China, Japan, Chile, Argentina. So all over the world. All over the world our books were sold…from here. So Unit Editions could’ve never existed without technology. So it’s done the exact opposite of what people thought it would do.
JT: 關於Unit Editions只在網站上賣書這件事情，實體書本與科技的衝突曾經發生過嗎？
JT: So Unit Editions only sells book on your website. has the conflict between books(physical) and technology ever occurred to you?
TB: No, they both enable to happen. You could sat in your bedroom in EURoid, and see the books online, and you could decide you want to buy one, then you can buy it, you don’t have to go to a bookshop. We do sell at some bookshops, bookshops are wonderful things, we’re not against bookshops, they’re wonderful. But the only way that we could survive is by not going through the conventional route of book publishing. So by selling online, we don’t have to wait for a year before we get the money for the book that was sold, which is if we were to do it conventionally. As soon as whatever part of the world buys a book on our website, then it got the process done immediately: they give us the money, we send the book. It’s very simple. If we were doing it conventionally, we’d have to pay for the distribution, the bookshop….etc. Lots of inner costs, that is going to a book, so there’s not much left for you to make your book and print it.
Our model is to make beautiful books at relatively low runs, that are really well-researched and really beautifully-produced. We wouldn’t be able to that if we were doing it conventionally.
影片訪談 Video Interview : http://yt1.piee.pw/GJQLB