Stephen Pradier forwarded this article from The New York Times. Thanks!
Even as more readers switch to the convenience of e-books, publishers are giving old-fashioned print books a makeover.
Many new releases have design elements usually reserved for special occasions â€" deckle edges, colored endpapers, high-quality paper and exquisite jackets that push the creative boundaries of bookmaking. If e-books are about ease and expedience, the publishers reason, then print books need to be about physical beauty and the pleasures of owning, not just reading.
â€śWhen people do beautiful books, theyâ€™re noticed more,â€ť said Robert S. Miller, the publisher of Workman Publishing. â€śItâ€™s like sending a thank-you note written on nice paper when weâ€™re in an era of e-mail correspondence.â€ť
The eagerly anticipated 925-page novel by Haruki Murakami, â€ś1Q84,â€ť arrived in bookstores in October wrapped in a translucent jacket with the arresting gaze of a young woman peering through. A new novel by Stephen King about the Kennedy assassination, â€ś11/22/63,â€ť has an intricate book jacket and, unusual for fiction, photographs inside. The paperback edition of Jay-Zâ€™s memoir â€śDecodedâ€ť features a shiny gold Rorschach on the cover, and in March the front of â€śThe Song of Achillesâ€ť by Madeline Miller will bear an embossed helmet sculpted with punctures, cracks and texture, giving the image a 3-D effect.
Publishers in recent years have had a frugal attitude about so-called special effects, but that attitude has begun to shift, said Julie Grau, senior vice president and publisher of Spiegel & Grau, part of Random House.
â€śWeâ€™re rethinking the value in certain cases of special effects and higher production standards,â€ť Ms. Grau said, citing â€śDecoded.â€ť
â€śNow in some cases, creating a more beautiful hardcover or paperback object is warranted.â€ť
For publishers, the strategy has a clear payoff: to increase the value of print books and build a healthy, diverse marketplace that includes brick-and-mortar bookstores and is not dominated by Amazon and e-books.
This is a trend I expected to see. Publishers are beefing up their physical books with features e-books can't replicate. Perhaps this will lead to a new renaissance in book publishing. Bring back those marbled endpapers and gilt edges!
To read the complete article, see:
Selling Books by Their Gilded Covers
Wayne Homren, Editor
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