A Publishing Manifesto from Mexico’s Match Box Editions

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Match Box Editions Mexico

Andrea Fuentes of illustrated books publisher La Caja de Cerillos — Match Box Editions — outlines how she is trying to revolutionize reading in Mexico.

Editorial by Andrea Fuentes

Match Box Editions, MexicoLa Caja de Cerillos — Match Box Editions — was launched in January 2011 as an editorial initiative by myself and Alejandro Silva Cruz Atienza in Mexico City.

Since our foundation, and while conceiving the editorial work as a creative process, we have explored the paths of word and image through alternative and interdisciplinary proposals, with literary works, art, essays, and other unclassifiable pieces — all are illustrated books for adults and readers of various age groups.

But what is an illustrated book? Usually it is identified with children’s books, even if its subject and author happens to be, say, Jorge Luis Borges. An if people do get it that it is Borges, then they think that is a somehow something that must be reduced to the level of “Borges for Children.”

To go against this traditional understanding requires hard work to promote the splendid — and different world — of illustrated books. 

The international market has been paying attention to the rise of these new kinds of illustrated books for adult readers, particularly in France and Spain. But in Mexico, this market for illustrated works is still a small one, though it is getting slowly but firmly stronger, with a few independent publishers putting out this kind of book.

Even if the official numbers says the number of readers is low, the truth is that we are all publishing more than ever. At Match Box, our proposal has been to present a new kind of creation — one that combine words and images in order to make for a new reading experience: we do this with literature and with essays, and the result are books, which we hope transcend any classification, ones where different disciplines united to create a unique reading scenario.

A sample illustration from Match Box

Match Box’s style is bold and graphic — and emblematic of Mexican illustration.

We look to edit classic authors, but also well-recognized contemporary and well-recognized ones, so in them we explore other possibilities in book creation, and that is why we have edited works that express various forms of thought and universal creation, while exploring the relationship between content and aesthetic value and objectivity within the books.

Match Box Book MexicoWith our publications we seek to open new readings so as to express with the printed work in order to propose other forms of approximation of creation and knowledge. We are interested in those books whose purpose is to represent and transform the ideological panorama of our time, because the understanding of our world and art creation today responds to other influences and categories and searches.

We do enjoy conceiving volumes that transcend the commissioning role of paper text, graphics and textual universes, forming interdisciplinary reading by widening perceptual boundaries.

Simple Perversion OralWe believe in books as one of the fundamental ways to transform our aspirations about the world and as one of the most important devices in the construction of human identity.

We focus on issues that are visual, tactile and conceptually praise creativity that awakens in the reader an aesthetic and intellectual pleasure.

The making of a book is not a simple or equal action, and we strongly believe that being independent also means we take on a specific to make books. That is why it is highly important to us to make them from an ethical and creative approach because we believe it does matter what kind of works are made, who makes them and why.

This means we produce the kind of books that do not intend to establish as commercial sales pattern, but instead are made to expand and create knowledge. These kinds of books, which will seem complicated and difficult to sell well, have nevertheless been well received by readers.

Maybe this is because, against the general and expanded trend of the digital book (that we love and incorporate in different manners in our own books), they engage the readers’ the love of the tactile (materially, this is the art of the format: the typography, the cover and all the others elements of a book — books as art objectsI. Maybe it is because we experiment with new forms of reading and new creations that discover subjects and themes through the legendary and marvelous artifact called book.

And that is why we do them, we create them, we live for them.

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