aprilhenry (aprilhenry) wrote,

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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