Gift: Book by Its Cover

My book editor friend, Louise, reassured me that the E-book trend isn’t making printed mater obsolete, but rather it’s inspiring a design revival in the publishing world. Phew! As a result, those who refuse to forsake the genuine article are, as Louise so aptly put it, “being wooed with more elaborate and extravagant design work.”

I’ve always considered a book a thoughtful gift for any occasion or age, so woo away please. And, in the following examples of classics book re-design, I think it’s perfectly acceptable to judge a book by its cover.

Wuthering Heights and The Picture of Dorian Gray are part of a clothbound series with covers detailed in climbing vines and peacock feathers (vain Dorian!) by Coralie Bickford-Smith. She is a senior cover designer at Penguin Books, and the prolific artist behind several Penguin series from F. Scott Fitzgerald to spooky good Gothic Horror novels.

Also from Penguin is the Threads Deluxe Classic Series. This three book collection is the glorious handiwork of illustrator, cartoonist and embroidery magician Jillian Tamaki. I had long dreamed of passing along my well-worn copy of The Secret Garden to my child, but how can I resist this edition?

Ok, this might be less gift (limited collections are available in the online store) and more inspiration, but I’m intrigued by the custom collections from Thatcher Wine of Juniper¬† Books.¬† I attribute this bit of book lust entirely to my husband who organized our modest library by color as glimpsed above. His designer-as-librarian work was undone completely by our toddler-as-wrecking-crew, but it was lovely while it lasted.

Cloth-bound covers, rich designs by commissioned illustrators and thick, satisfying paper are the hallmarks of White’s Books. Other titles in this keepsake collection include favorites like Sherlock Holmes: His Greatest Cases and Jane Eyre.


3 thoughts on “Gift: Book by Its Cover

  1. So true. I think people are treasuring special tomes that much more. The Bickford-Smith clothbound series was my gift of choice for loved ones at Christmas this year!

    • So glad you saw this Angie. I was thinking of you and Mark as I searched for these titles. Long live publishing (on actual paper).

  2. Ooh, I think that version of The Secret Garden has my niece’s name all over it, thanks for yet another great gift idea.

    As for the printed book, I have been pre-emptively lamenting its impending demise for a while now. At the same time, whenever I let myself dream about about writing my next career chapter, I keep coming back to the idea of opening a small but thoughtfully-stocked bookshop. Your book editor friend’s reassurances make me feel like maybe that dream can someday be realized!