How to shoplift books by David Horvitz details 80 ways in which one can steal a book, from the very practical, to the witty, imaginative, and romantic—a comprehensive guide to stealing books with its price printed on the cover, clearly visible, which provokes the visitor of a bookshop to become aware of the unconscious decisions, pre-empted by others, that we make every day. The poetic, funny and paradoxical texts also bring to light some structural elements of the mechanics of bookselling and our relation to the exchange of goods. It inserts friction into the conditioned behavior we display when we are moving through commercial spaces. All advertising tells us to buy things, we rarely come across a message encouraging us to steal – especially not one with the authority that print still carries.
The work is romantic and anachronistic: as our primary source for buying books becomes impersonal online shops (that pretend to deliver a personal experience) it is almost impossible to spontaneously steal anything, and the act of disobedience becomes a story of the past. Horvitz’ compendium of delightfully written performance instructions is a collection of modern culture scripts and is, so to speak, writing history.
This project by David Horvitz with Edition Taube is an ongoing translation and publishing work. For each language we collaborate with a publisher from the corresponding language region.
So far, the following languages have been released:
English: How to shoplift books (978-3-945900-20-8) with Printed Matter, Inc.
French: Comment voler des livres (978-3-945900-21-5) with Yvon Lambert
Spanish: Cómo robar libros (978-3-945900-22-2) with Gato Negro
German: Wie man Bücher klaut (978-3-945900-23-9) with Mark Pezinger
Italian: Come rubare i libri (978-3-945900-24-6) with ChertLüdde & Mousse Publishing
Chinese: 携书潜逃的N种方式 (978-3-945900-25-3) with tria publishing platform
Greek: Πως να κλέψεις ένα βιβλίο (978-3-945900-26-0) with Phenomenon
Dutch: Hoe je boeken steelt (978-3-945900-27-7) with PrintRoom