What’s in an apostrophe?

Different ways to refer to book art

There’s a very interesting blog post by Susan Viguers on the College Book Art Association (CBAA) website: The Artist Book and the Sailor Suit.

Susan examines the permutations of spelling and punctuation used by people when they refer to book art. The issue is the complicated and confusing placement of an apostrophe – where does it go? Do you use it at all?

Throughout the article and the comments, I found the following variations for both single and multiple books:

  • artist book
  • artist books
  • artist’ book
  • artist’s book
  • artist’s books
  • artists book
  • artists’ book
  • artist’s book
  • artists books
  • artists’ books
  • artist’s books
  • artists’ book
  • artists’ books


I know that I’ve been inconsistent in which term I use – it’s probably time for me to pick a team.

Which do you use?

2 Responses to “What’s in an apostrophe?”

By Hilke aka buechertiger - 9 March 2016 Reply

Yes, that was an interesting discussion. As someone who learned English as a foreign language, I was particularly confused by what seemed to me simply as an incorrect usage of the apostrophe (like in artist’ book).
I myself try to avoid the term completely because it is so ambiguous and prefer to speak of “works of book art”. Artist’s book sounds too much like a book that belongs to an artist – like the novel she or he is currently reading – at least to me.

By Elissa - 16 March 2016 Reply

Hilke –

I agree with you – the phrase artist’s book seems too concerned about who owns the book. I like your choice of using works of book art – it makes much more sense.


So what do you think? I'd love to know!

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