13 December 2011

The Book Strikes Back

There's been lots about the eBook revolution recently. Amazon are trying to persuade us that eBooks dominate Xmas 2011 sales - but that's largely because they want to promote their Kindle eBook reader. But if you keep your eye on bricks and mortar bookshops you'll see that print publishers are starting to fight back. What weapons are they using? Well, the old-fashioned production values of typographic style, eye-catching graphic design, and physical desirability. The book is becoming once again an object of desire. If you look at an example such as Alexandra Harris's recent Romantic Moderns you'll see that her publishers Thames and Hudson have commissioned good designers to create aesthetically pleasing jacket covers, they use patterns for the end papers inside the book, choose thick creamy paper for their pages, use a stylish font for the body text, add lots of wide margins and leading, plus full colour photographs and illustrations. The result is a book you haven't seen for ages - something that is pleasing to hold, feel, look at, and own.

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