Publishers like McSweeney’s and Open Letter have been experimenting with jacket-less hardcovers for some time now, but this fall season will see some of the larger publishers getting into the game, including Farrar, Straus and Giroux (No Impact Man by Colin Beavan) and Viking (Bicycle Diaries by David Byrne). Eli Horowitz, the managing editor at McSweeney's, describes jacket-less hardcover designs as a way to fuse the cover design with the physical book, creating a single, integrated object: “Even well-designed jackets often feel like advertisements, not actual parts of the object. … Jackets carry all the design, but they feel disposable and often are disposable, the first part of a book to get torn or creased or trampled." Charlotte Strick of FSG agrees: "I don't know if I even completely understand why that is. Maybe there's something permanent about it, that kind of makes it feel substantial and special and gives it a certain integrity." Viking’s Paul Slovak sees jacket-less designs as a way to compete with e-books: "At a time when there are other forms that people can buy books in, it becomes more important than ever for the physical book to look really attractive."
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
The Trend in Jacket-less Hardcovers
The New York Observer reports on the trend of publishing hardcovers without dust jackets. I’m a big supporter of this idea. Dust jackets are annoying. When they’re not getting in the way of turning pages, they’re getting lost, torn, or wrinkled. And no matter how beautiful a jacket is, I can’t shake the feeling that it’s not really part of the actual book, which is often a bland, monochromatic object.