Sometimes the best ideas strike at the most unusual of times. Maybe it occurs when you are engrossed in a task, or perhaps you are struck with inspiration as your mind wanders between projects. Such was the case with our ideation for Musebooks.world, which began over a casual cup of coffee.

“Had I known the compelling turn our discussion would take, I would have ordered a bigger coffee.”

– Dominique De Rijcke, Founder and responsible for technology, Musebooks.world

First: a bit about Musebooks.com. Our site is a newly launched online bookstore that offers both print and digital formats for a wide range of international art books and exhibition catalogues. Our goal is to provide the reader with an exceptional and unprecedented digital reading experience, as if you in front of the art itself.

4,435,000: The average number of visitors to each of top 20 museums in the world (88,700,000 visitors total!) as reported in 2013

Louvre Entrance

How does coffee lead to a book selling platform, you might ask? Our inspiration for Musebooks.world stems from the disconnect we realized was occurring between those who love art and those who purchase art books. This awareness was driven home one fall day last year, as we lingered over a coffee at New York’s Whitney Museum of American Art. Just having viewed the inspired retrospective exhibition, we were basking in the glow of artistic and theoretical discussions our tour had inspired. As we soaked in our surroundings, we marveled at the sea of people streaming through the show’s galleries. On the one hand, we were pleased to see such fine attendance; on the other, we were struck at how few of them headed for the exit with the show’s catalogue in their hand.

2%: The approximate percentage of museumgoers who walk away from their visit with an exhibition catalogue.

– Peter Ruyffelaere, Founder and responsible for artistic management, Musebooks.world

Museumshop Stedelijk

We did our research, and we soon discovered that this skipped purchase was not an anomaly but rather the trend. Museums hosting blockbuster shows garner millions of visitors, and yet only a small fraction of those attendees will invest in an exhibition catalogue. Part of this reluctance to purchase is price, while another contributing factor is poundage: art books have earned a reputation for being large and unwieldy, with some even sacrificing the quality of their images in favor of these unusual formats. At the same time, we recognized the growing popularity of ebooks. With ebook readership breaking records on an annual basis, we deduced that perhaps the answer to this art book-collecting conundrum was greater accessibility to digital formats.

“All we had to do was imagine the possibilities stemming from this new approach to art books and we were hooked.”

– Noël Slangen, Founder and responsible for operations and marketing, Musebooks.world

Experience this level of access when the doors of our virtual bookstore open this fall. Musebooks.com will launch in beta form in October 2015 at www.musebooks.world, at which time you can sign up for an account. Until then, keep checking in here for news and updates. You can follow us on Twitter and Facebook as well to keep current with our blog and news updates.