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kottke.org posts about book covers

The Library of Misremembered Books

posted by Jason Kottke   Nov 01, 2021

book with a cover that reads 'Looking for a Book, It's Red'

book with a cover that reads 'Ice Was in the Title'

book with a cover that reads 'The Book About the Magazine'

In her new book Library of Misremembered Books, Marina Luz creates new book covers from the vague and hilarious ways in which people can’t recall the exact names of books.

Anyone who has worked in a bookstore knows only too well that moment when a customer approaches by saying, “So I don’t remember the title, or the author, but-.” And we’ve all been on the other side of the counter, trying to pinpoint something we can’t quite describe at a bookstore (“It’s a murder mystery, but also quite funny”), or at a video store (“Could be subtitled, but then again, now that I think about it, maybe it wasn’t”), or at a mechanic (“The car is kind of going gu-chunk, gu-chunk; except on hills, when it’s more of a clickety-tickety”). We are usually left not only without an answer, but also with the overwhelming sense that we have lost some small piece of our dignity in the attempt.

See also (via this thread) a list of misremembered titles from the Fukui Prefectural Library in Japan. (via literary hub)

Fuck Everything, We’re Doing 32 Book Covers

posted by Jason Kottke   Oct 21, 2021

Eggers Every Cover 01

Eggers Every Cover 02

Eggers Every Cover 03

Eggers Every Cover 04

Eggers Every Cover 05

For his new book, The Every, Dave Eggers and art director Sunra Thompson are doing 32 separate covers, with more to come “in perpetuity”.

Never one to shy away from pushing boundaries, Eggers teamed up with art director Sunra Thompson for the project, who discovered that the dust jacket printer they were using could run several cover designs on one sheet of paper at once, providing the means to print dozens of different versions at the same time. Thompson decided to exploit this printing feature, enlisting a boatload of artists to design a completely new version of The Every cover.

The hardcover version of the book featuring the 32+ designs will only be available on the McSweeney’s website and in independent bookstores, which doesn’t seem to include Bookshop.org. Amazon, says Eggers, can go pound sand.

“I don’t like bullies,” Eggers wrote in an email. “Amazon has been kicking sand in the face of independent bookstores for decades now.”

The novel follows a former forest ranger and tech skeptic, Delaney Wells, as she tries to take down a dangerous monopoly from the inside: a company called The Every, formed when the world’s most powerful e-commerce site merged with the biggest social media company/search engine.

“One of the themes of the book is the power of monopolies to dictate our choices, so it seemed a good opportunity to push back a bit against the monopoly, Amazon, that currently rules the book world,” he said. “So we started looking into how feasible it would be to make the hardcover available only through independent bookstores. Turns out it is very, very hard.”

A wonderful collection of 19th century shipping

posted by Jason Kottke   Mar 13, 2007

A wonderful collection of 19th century shipping posters on Flickr. (via quipsologies)

Update: That Flickr user also has several other interesting sets of images to look at, including book covers, typography of The Electric Company, Soviet children’s books, and Civil War posters.

Some recent covers by Chip Kidd of

posted by Jason Kottke   Feb 15, 2007

Some recent covers by Chip Kidd of three books by James Ellroy. The photographs on the covers are of dioramas of pulp fiction covers made by Thomas Allen. (via yda)

The proprietor of the Book Design Review

posted by Jason Kottke   Dec 19, 2006

The proprietor of the Book Design Review blog picks his favorite book covers of 2006.

At The Art of the Book event

posted by Jason Kottke   Dec 11, 2006

At The Art of the Book event last week, the panel was asked why there were so few female superstar designers. Milton Glaser took a shot at answering the question (many women choose family over work during the crucial superstar career development years) but judging by the reaction afterwards online, his comments were not appreciated by some. To be fair, Glaser’s comments were taken out of context, I think, and what he said is a part of the overall answer to the question. On Design Observer, Michael Beirut, who was the moderator for that evening’s event, takes a closer look at the issue. “The real question was the unspoken one: ‘Why is it that you guys up there are always…guys?’” Oh, and here’s a list of women speakers for your conference.

Bookslut lists the best book covers of 2006. (via lists 2006)

posted by Jason Kottke   Dec 07, 2006

Bookslut lists the best book covers of 2006. (via lists 2006)

Designing for persistence

posted by Jason Kottke   Dec 05, 2006

Took in The Art of the Book lecture at the 92nd Street Y last night. Milton Glaser, Chip Kidd (“a modern day Truman Capote” I heard him described as afterward), Dave Eggers, with Michael Beirut moderating. One of the most interesting comments came late in the proceedings from Dave Eggers, who described one of the main goals of the McSweeney’s design staff as attempting to design the books as well and as beautifully as they could as objects so that people would be compelled to save them. That way, even if people didn’t have time to read them soon after purchase, they couldn’t bear to throw/give the book away and would instead put it on their shelf in the hopes — McSweeney’s hopes, that is — that the buyer would at some point pull it down off the shelf and give it another try.

This design goal runs counter to the design process behind most contemporary book jackets, which are engineered almost entirely for the purpose of eliciting in the potential buyer a “buy me” reaction within two seconds of spotting them. McSweeney’s, as a champion of authors, wants the writing to be read while most major publishing companies, as champions of their shareholders, want books to be purchased. People buying books is important to the goal of getting the writing within them read, but McSweeney’s emphasis on designing books to last in people’s homes is a clever way to pursue that goal after the sale.

Penguin is releasing a series of books

posted by Jason Kottke   Nov 27, 2006

Penguin is releasing a series of books with blank covers with the idea being that the reader fills them in. The first books in the series include Crime and Punishment and Emma. Penguin has a gallery of reader submissions…send in your best shot.

Book covers inspired by Rene Magritte art. (via do)

posted by Jason Kottke   Feb 16, 2006

Book covers inspired by Rene Magritte art. (via do)

The cover for a 2004 novel called I,

posted by Jason Kottke   Jan 20, 2006

The cover for a 2004 novel called I, Fatty bears a striking resemblance to that of Jeff Veen’s The Art and Science of Web Design from 2000.

Fine gallery of well-designed book covers with

posted by Jason Kottke   Jan 11, 2006

Fine gallery of well-designed book covers with an opportunity for you, the visitor, to comment on them. (via coudal)

More and more, shoppers are judging books

posted by Jason Kottke   Dec 23, 2005

More and more, shoppers are judging books by their covers. “Studies show that a book on a three-for-two table has about one and a half seconds to catch a reader’s eye.”

The evolution of book cover design

posted by Jason Kottke   Jul 26, 2005

The evolution of book cover design. Using Robert W Chambers’ The King in Yellow as an example.

Collection of Chip Kidd’s book cover design

posted by Jason Kottke   Jun 10, 2005

Collection of Chip Kidd’s book cover design work due out in October.