how to start a book club using iCloud shared albums

I'm starting a book club using iCloud shared albums. The books are mostly about design, architecture, and art. Recently when thinking about the Magic Sleeve as a product, I've been obsessed with the history of office furniture and work.

Some background... With iOS 15, my favorite new feature is searchable and selectable text in photos. Why? I take a lot of photos of books-- photographing each book in its entirety with an iPhone. I've been doing it for years. With the help of the interlibrary loan system in the US, it's easy to request rare, out of print, expensive books. The only problem is that the loan period is short, usually about a month or less with no renewals. I started in about 2012 documenting books I wanted to be able to reference later as a part of my studio practice. I even made a physical book of photos of complete books as a studio reference book called "A Book of Books" (2017). It was an edition of 5 books that contained photos of 18 other books.

I thought about it as an 'artist book' in the most literal sense because it was a reference book for my studio. One copy of the edition is in the collection of the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis and I'm hoping someone using their reference library will stumble on it among other reference books about art. 

More recently, I've realized that iCloud photos and searchable text are perfect for having convenient access to books across my devices. I use the new back dating feature to date all my book photos 20 years in the past so I can still effectively use my camera roll and keep the book photos in chronological order. My camera roll looks something like this:

I also insert a tab of blue with the title and author in big type so I can see books while browsing the camera roll on my iPad. 

I also mark the right side of pages I want to keep track of with a red bar (so they can be seen while browsing the camera roll):

So the first book is a monograph about Industrial Facility, an industrial design office based in the UK. I love their recent 'non-system' of furniture for Herman Miller called OE1. 

The essays in the monograph are the best part and this lecture by Sam Hecht is great. "Design should be invisible - it should not get in the way of its use, but rather, it should make sure that it is pleasurable in use, from the placement in a room to its relationship to what surrounds it," says Hecht. His thinking about design is based on thinking about what's around the product, the importance of context. 

With iCloud shared photo albums, the photos don't count against your iCloud space, but there is a limit of 200 people on a shared album. With that built in limit, I thought it might be the perfect format for a book club. I would love to share books that are informing my products and thinking. They are open to editing, comments, likes, and I have notifications on. While photographing many books this year I've been struck by how much information is not on the internet. I often feels like I'm uncovering new things. 

Just email me at and I'll send you an iCloud shared album invite to "Industrial Facility". You'll be able to join and see the entire book.