Archive for the ‘Book Design’ Category

A quickie…
March 9, 2010

So one day I’m in a bookstore and browsing the shelves for something to read I come across “Snuff” by Chuck Palahniuk, author of “Fight Club”. “Suff” is a great example of EYE-CATCHING covers, honestly, don’t tell me you are not reading this mainly for the picture above (and because I’m writing it OF COURSE).

Anyway, the point of this post is not the book itself (it’s an OK read, nothing compared to “Fight Club”) but the actual dust-jacket, or should I say dust-jacketS? You see, when I took off the dust-jacket I found… you know what I found? I found another, yes, ANOTHER dust-jacket, incredible isn’t it? Well, not really, it’s just a curious incident. But being sex, sex and MORE sex the subject of the book I thought that maybe they (the publishing people) had done this on purpose, a Double-Bagging Condom sort of thing… yea, I thought about it A BIT too much. Since this was the only copy available in the bookstore I’m still wondering whether or not I’m right… though I don’t think I’m right.

Have any of you had any interesting “printing” incidents? And would any of you like my extra dust-jacket? You could frame it and hang it on your wall as a piece of artwork. At the very leas it’s bound to be an excellent conversation starter for when your mom asks what the meaning of SNUFF is.

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McSweeny’s Books
February 17, 2010

McSweeny’s is one (if not THE one) of my favorite Publishers ever. It began as a literary journal edited by Dave Eggers, whom you may know for co-writing the screenplay for “Where the Wild Things Are”, book I love and movie I have been eagerly awaiting to arrive to the god forsaken place that is my home town… Anyway, the project that started out as a literary journal has evolved into a big BEAUTIFULLYDESIGNEDBOOKS making machine.

McSweeny’s began in 1998 but I only just discovered their books a couple of years ago, when I was living in Madrid: “I remember it was raining, the bookstore was about to close when suddenly there it was, looking straight at me, with that beautiful design and a dust-jacket like I´d never seen before, McSweeney’s Quarterly Concern… number 23… 23? Just how many other books like this were there?! Oh, my life would never be the same, this is the kind of book that I would measure all the others to, this is what book making is all about!” Or something of that sort… the thing is these books are THE BOOKS to own. Aside from the FACT that the design is perfection (illustration, print design and book critics awards will back me up on this), the titles they publish are a great example of amazing contemporary literature.

The format in wich the books are presented changes constantly, for example, the latest Quarterly Concern was named “The San Francisco Panorama” a Sunday-edition-sized newspaper. One was a book completely devoted comics, another took the form of a bundle of mail. Issue 23, the first one I got, had a dust-jacket that unfolded into an enormous, beautifully illustrated poster. The books are just breathtaking, I mean, just see for yourselves here.

The Fur-Covered edition of “The Wild Things” by Dave Eggers is a MUST for any Maurice Sendak fan. This is the adaptation of “Where the Wild Things Are” that was made for the movie.

These books are impossible to buy in Mexico (ugh…) and VERY expensive to have sent from the U.S.A. So, until the time comes to move to NY, I´ll be browsing ever so often The McSweeney’s Store and salivating…

Here are some Quarterly Concern examples:

You can also fallow McSweeny’s on twitter or you may prefer to read their blog… Nope, I´m not being paid by them, they are just that good.

Jerome is dead!
February 13, 2010

When I first found out that J.D. Salinger, one of my favorite authors, the mind behind two of my favorite books of all time, “Franny and Zooey” and, of course, “The Catcher in the Rye” was dead, the first thing that came to my mind was… finally. I mean, I’m not exactly happy about his death, it’s just that… well… the crazy old bastard kept on writing all these years, FIFTY years or so, and did he publish anything? Absofuckinglutely not.

I’m very sorry, but the future publisher in me is leaping with joy at the chance that we could all finally get to see what this reclusive limelightscared nutcase had been doing all this time.

Supposedly, there are about 15, that is FIFTEEN! manuscripts locked up in his safe. All this according to one of his neighbors (who I will do my best to murder if it all turns out to be his idea of a joke). This is a publishers dream, or more specifically, this is MY DREAM. I sure am glad I´ll be living in New York to see how it all pans out.

Incidentally, “The Catcher in the Rye” has one of my favorite cover arts ever:

You may ask, what would I do if I was given the opportunity to publish a NEW book by J.D. Salinger? Honestly… I… I’m going to stop writing. But it could happen you know? YOU KNOW? Nah… you don’t know…

Always judge a book by its cover
February 13, 2010

I really hate the phrase “Never judge a book by its cover”. I mean, I´m not saying there aren´t GREAT books with LOUSY editorial design. But honestly, the whole reading experience is so much better when you are holding a beautiful book in your hands. And by beautiful I mean great cover art, font, paper and overall design.

Many years ago my aunt gave me a copy of “El Laberinto de la Soledad” by Octavio Paz. “If you are mexican you have GOT to read this book”, so, of course, I started reading the book. HOWEVER I´m not sure if it was the minuscule font, the bible thin pages, the crappy cover art, or the overall lack of editorial design but I just could NOT finish the damn book, it was hell trying to keep this tiny book from closing itself!

But, along came PENGUIN. A few months ago I came across a beautiful copy of the same book and may I just say it´s fucking awesome. I´ve always loved Penguin books, especially their deluxe editions (more on that in later posts I promise), and this time they exceeded  my expectations, specially because I was pleasantly surprised to find a Penguin book in spanish at my local bookstore.

The simple fact is, CONTENT is just as important as EDITORIAL DESIGN. Great design can make me buy the same book over and over again. For example, although I have a beautiful copy of “Alice´s Adventures in Wonderland” I can NOT wait to get my hands on the new book illustrated by Camille Rose García!