August 28th, 2009

Book jackets - forgoing them

Some publishers are experimenting with jacketless hardcovers, including Viking, FSG, and Graywolf. Jackets get torn and wrinkled. I guess some people take them off before they read the book [Full disclosure: not me!] But what’s underneath is dull, dull, dull.

Here’s an excerpt from the New York Observer:
"The book jacket is just a throwaway," Mr. Villanueva said. "It gets wrinkled, or it’s just uncomfortable and annoying, and you put it away because you're trying to save it but it gets messed up." 

Worse, he added, the undesigned case-wraps that typically house jacketed hardcovers are generally dull and cheap-looking.

"We’re used to the jacket covering something that's ugly," Mr. Villanueva said. "We expect that ugliness there."

As Mr. Horowitz put it: "In practice, this naked state is how a book lives the vast majority of its life, everything past the bookstore infancy: the jacket falls off, gets lost or destroyed, and then you’re left with just the book itself."

Part of the reason for that blandness, intuitively, is the cost associated with doing anything fancier. "You’d be surprised how few options there are, unless you've got oodles of money to spend on color and texture for the paper that covers most of our books," said FSG designer Charlotte Strick, who created the design for Mr. Beavan's No Impact Man. "The manufacturers just don’t have a huge range of these things." 

Read the whole article here.

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Book Jackets - forging them

My previous post talked about how some publishers are doing away with dust jackets.

But there's a flip side to the story. Book jackets can make a collectible book even more so. The Great Gatsby without a dust jacket can be worth upt to $3,000. With the jacket? Up to 60 TIMES as much - $180,000.

This article in the LA Times talks about the lengths forgers have gone to create a facsimile jacket that goes with their first edition..

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Five Things on a Friday

1. How can I have gained three pounds in 36 hours? It can't have anything to do with having the winning a bid on "Dessert of the Month" at Teen's school auction, can it? I'm a sucker for home-made peach pie with from-scratch crust.

2. I've got my mojo back! My hemocrit is now in the normal range. My ferritin level (iron storage) is still pathetic, but I'm told with another three months of supplements I should be back to normal. Today I went running and it was no longer a slog, but a happy, happy thing. I was grinning so wide I had to look off to one side so passing drivers wouldn't think I was nuts.

3. How come all the men I see now are either walking scary big dogs or little tiny ones? I passed one of each today. I was wondering how the guy with the teeny dog felt about his masculinity - and when I passed he was smoking a big stinky cigar. Guess that's what's called a mixed message.

4. In addition to the cigar, the morning was full of smells. Pot on 45th and Pendleton. The fakely sweet smell of laundry a little further down Pendleton. Dusty smell of blackberries on Vermont. And the bakery at Loaves and Fishes on 31st.

5. I'm 2/3 of the way done on a book. The end is in sight. Thank God.

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