I Worry About Strange Things

November 14, 2008 at 11:11 am 1 comment

You know, I’m a bit of a stickler about book-binding. If I’m going out of my way to buy a book to add to my collection, it shouldn’t look like ass. It’s a pretty basic thing, and it’s not a problem very often. However, the other day I needed to pick up “The Prestige” for class, and I ended up not buying it because of how downright hideous it was.

Gaze upon it and despair

Now, there’s a lot of things wrong with this. I’ve never been a fan of books that announce “Soon to be a Major Motion Picture” or something similar on the cover. It’s tacky, and those editions end up looking incredibly dated. Most of the time, though, the movie announcement is just a little seal in the corner that can be ignored. Here, it takes up about 1/4 of the cover.

What is this shit? Who needs to know there’s a movie that badly? Why are the words “Fall 2006” so damn big, bigger even than the authors name? Is ‘Fall 2006’ really such important information? Does it really need to be conveyed with such huge-ass font?

Another major problem is the lack of symmetry. The top of the page has the biggest text, and then it gets progressively smaller from there on out. The whole cover is unbalanced and ugly looking, as if the title were teetering on a stack of tiny words.

And of course, the order of the things is entirely arbitrary. Above-center is where you generally want to put the most important information, the title. But since the title is stacked so close to the top of the page, “Fall 2006” ends up falling closer to that space. Is “Fall 2006” the title? No? Then don’t put that shit there!

There’s a lot of other problems, but I’m going to focus on just one more; how utterly generic the cover is. Big words! Ominous glowing fog! Black! That’s…. that’s swell. Absolutely nothing about that sets it apart from nearly every other book on the shelf. If I didn’t already plan on buying to book, would this cover encourage me to do so? Would it suggest that this book is something new and exciting I should be reading, or does it suggest that it’s just another run-of-the-mill paperback that you’d buy at the airport and throw away after? Fuck, other than how hideous the design is, what sets it apart from other run-of-the-mill paperbacks?

So, despite needing to read the book for class, I haven’t bought a copy. I plan to go downtown and try to find a bookstore with a decently bound edition. This is how terrible the design is here; I’m willing to go half-an-hour out of my way to find a different edition, because this one looks so bad.

What we’ve learned here is that how you package your books is important. Don’t be an idiot about it. Don’t make the same mistakes as the guy who designed the cover of “The Prestige”.


Entry filed under: essay. Tags: , .

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1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. anahitathepurebloodprincess  |  December 25, 2008 at 1:21 pm

    hey nice entry… i worry about the litle things a lot too! I agree with you, the cover really sucks.. well, i have nothing more to say, you really said it all! keep updating, this blog rocks!



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