SO LOGOSignificant Objects is a literary and anthropological enterprise devised by Joshua Glenn and Rob Walker.

It began as an online experiment demonstrating that the effect of imaginative narrative on any given object’s subjective value can be measured objectively. Various online sequels, a book, and a number of events and collaborations have followed.

Read more of the project’s backstory on But in short: The original experiment (and its online sequels) involved auctioning off thrift-store objects via eBay; for item descriptions, short stories purpose-written by over 200 contributing writers, including Meg Cabot, William Gibson, Ben Greenman, Sheila Heti, Neil LaBute, Jonathan Lethem, Tom McCarthy, Lydia Millet, Jenny Offill, Bruce Sterling, Scarlett Thomas, and Colson Whitehead, were substituted. The objects, purchased for $1.25 apiece on average, sold for nearly $8,000.00 in total. (Proceeds were distributed to the contributors, and to nonprofit creative writing organizations.) All the project’s stories are archived on this site.

Most (ahem) significantly, a collection of 100 of the project’s finest stories has been published by Fantagraphics in a highly impressive volume, masterfully designed by Jacob Covey. It is available now via Powell’s, Amazon, B&N, or wherever finer books are sold. 

Follow the latest news and other interesting notes on objects, stories, and value at We’re also on Twitter, and Facebook.

Here is a video that describes the project by way of interviews with several participating authors:

And here is a video of our book launch event at The Strand in New York, NY: