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The Look of the Book: Jackets, Covers, and Art at the Edges of Literature

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Why do some book covers instantly grab your attention, while others never get a second glance? Fusing word and image, as well as design thinking and literary criticism, this captivating investigation goes behind the scenes of the cover design process to answer this question and more. Named one of the best books of the year by the New York Times Book Review As the outward fac Why do some book covers instantly grab your attention, while others never get a second glance? Fusing word and image, as well as design thinking and literary criticism, this captivating investigation goes behind the scenes of the cover design process to answer this question and more. Named one of the best books of the year by the New York Times Book Review As the outward face of the text, the book cover makes an all-important first impression. The Look of the Book examines art at the edges of literature through notable covers and the stories behind them, galleries of the many different jackets of bestselling books, an overview of book cover trends throughout history, and insights from dozens of literary and design luminaries. Co-authored by celebrated designer and creative director Peter Mendelsund and scholar David Alworth, this fascinating collaboration, featuring hundreds of covers, challenges our notions of what a book cover can and should be.


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Why do some book covers instantly grab your attention, while others never get a second glance? Fusing word and image, as well as design thinking and literary criticism, this captivating investigation goes behind the scenes of the cover design process to answer this question and more. Named one of the best books of the year by the New York Times Book Review As the outward fac Why do some book covers instantly grab your attention, while others never get a second glance? Fusing word and image, as well as design thinking and literary criticism, this captivating investigation goes behind the scenes of the cover design process to answer this question and more. Named one of the best books of the year by the New York Times Book Review As the outward face of the text, the book cover makes an all-important first impression. The Look of the Book examines art at the edges of literature through notable covers and the stories behind them, galleries of the many different jackets of bestselling books, an overview of book cover trends throughout history, and insights from dozens of literary and design luminaries. Co-authored by celebrated designer and creative director Peter Mendelsund and scholar David Alworth, this fascinating collaboration, featuring hundreds of covers, challenges our notions of what a book cover can and should be.

30 review for The Look of the Book: Jackets, Covers, and Art at the Edges of Literature

  1. 4 out of 5

    Miranda Reads

    Hmmm... mixy thoughts on this. So this is a book all about book covers. And initially I was SUPER excited for it. I mean... who doesn't judge a book by its cover? I was so curious to learn about the history and trends that you see in book covers - and why some are considered works of art while others are just "ehhh". I couldn't wait to see motifs and trace them through the years.... But this book is more...hmm...less than I hoped. I wanted to be dazzled but instead it felt like my spark was Hmmm... mixy thoughts on this. So this is a book all about book covers. And initially I was SUPER excited for it. I mean... who doesn't judge a book by its cover? I was so curious to learn about the history and trends that you see in book covers - and why some are considered works of art while others are just "ehhh". I couldn't wait to see motifs and trace them through the years.... But this book is more...hmm...less than I hoped. I wanted to be dazzled but instead it felt like my spark was being smothered. The academic nature and pedantic language of the book really...well...sucked the fun out of a topic that I was looking forward too. It felt like I was attending a lecture. It also probably didn't help that the author only focuses on medium-old books (if that makes sense). Like there were a lot of books from the 19th-20th century but next to nothing from before or after...which kind of killed my excitement for learning about modern trends or ancient ones. I would've LOVED to have a few chapters about when book covers became a "thing" and how people first started decorating them (like physically how and what they did to do it) - it's such a cool thing! And a few chapters on the books of today - where we trace the earlier influences and how they are seen on books from today. Also, this might be a bit more minor but a lot of the books featured were relatively unknown to me - and considering I read ~300+ books a year, I was kinda surprised that I only recognized like 10-20% of the books. I mean, it was kinda neat to learn about the books I've never heard of but at the same time, I wish that a few more common books were chosen. ALSO - and it may just be me...but I was disappointed by the lack of "pretty covers" (which, yes...sounds shallow but at the same time...you know you like pretty covers). I mean, I don't have the research to back this up BUT I would argue major reason covers are designed are so people are going to want to buy the book. There are so many covers out there that are just stunning - ones that instantly tell me that YES YOU NEED THIS ON YOUR SHELF. Honestly, what would you rather have on your shelf? a weird abstract cover in mud-brown and baby-food-green or the same book in royal blue, bonded leather, gilt pages and embossed cover?) I was really pumped to learn more about those ones and how beauty factors into the design....but that wasn't really addressed. Ah well. If you are in college and need a textbook about covers - this one will work for you. YouTube | Blog | Instagram | Twitter | Facebook | Snapchat @miranda_reads

  2. 5 out of 5

    Gabe Steller

    I good cover is very satisfying to me and I will always google all the various editions of books to find the best one before i buy it (also watch this space cuz the editions i review are the ones I read!) anyway so was excited to read this just for the fun of a coffee table book with nice big images of great covers, and also to read about the history of the form and a bit about its process. My favorite observation was that the book cover was similar to the film score in terms of it can be so fam I good cover is very satisfying to me and I will always google all the various editions of books to find the best one before i buy it (also watch this space cuz the editions i review are the ones I read!) anyway so was excited to read this just for the fun of a coffee table book with nice big images of great covers, and also to read about the history of the form and a bit about its process. My favorite observation was that the book cover was similar to the film score in terms of it can be so familiar and rote as to be hardly noticed, or it can emphasize or bring something out in the book/film you wouldn't have appreciated as much before. I gotta say though i do not like this guys writing. I he's that terrible combination of pretentious but also gimick-y which was overpowering for me in his other book i read (What we see when we read) but thankfully was little less so here. Still for a form/medium thats literal whole existence is about being tugged between being art and being marketing i feel like the tone could have been lighter with a sense of humor about the whole predicament. instead he's so dry verging ponderous. Still a decent overview and i like the way the chapters were organized. 3.5!

  3. 5 out of 5

    Mindi

    I thoroughly enjoyed this. Review to follow...

  4. 4 out of 5

    Chris Molnar

    An (of course) handsomely designed primer on book covers, primarily American literary fiction. It benefits from Mendelsund's position as one of the best known and most respected purveyors of the craft, skipping along the edge of personal essay with casual quotes from eminences that only someone of his stature would be dinner-party friends with and acerbic digs at modern groupthink that require either the imperviousness of the total outsider or the total insider, the latter being the clear contex An (of course) handsomely designed primer on book covers, primarily American literary fiction. It benefits from Mendelsund's position as one of the best known and most respected purveyors of the craft, skipping along the edge of personal essay with casual quotes from eminences that only someone of his stature would be dinner-party friends with and acerbic digs at modern groupthink that require either the imperviousness of the total outsider or the total insider, the latter being the clear context. I wish it had more of the manifesto-like bigness of Rem Koolhaas' book on NYC architecture, Delirious New York, or the quietly devastating fuck-all of Daniel Menaker's memoir about working in the upper echelons of American literature, My Mistake, but this is essentially a textbook primer borne out of a class on book design, and is very good as such. The featured Mendelsund covers and prototypes for Knopf and New Directions are proof that at least in the recent past good design could still exist, even as technology destroys taste by collaborating with capital in both large and small presses alike. The conundrums that Mendelsund and Alworth lay out for modern book design are more disturbing than they let on - essentially that e-commerce, late capitalism and Adobe Creative Suite have gutted the idea of covers as creative, stimulating interpretation. The "handwriting/sans serif type interacting with boring patterns and clip art" cliché that dominates modern American literary fiction is a terminal sickness that they diagnose without envisioning a cure, and the only underground press they feature (other than a shoutout to Ugly Duckling) is the British outfit Fitzcarraldo, whose total botching of an austere alternative is depressing but not the final word. But, that's not what they set out to do. They set out to give you a beautiful coffee table book that covers the first ~120 years of book jackets, and they accomplish exactly that. Hopefully some hard-headed visionary takes this as a jumping off point and gives us all the damning, world-changing screed we deserve.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Anne

    What a fantastic analysis of all things book jackets/dust covers! I see some other reviewers calling it pedantic and scholarly - and while I can see where those comments come from - I'd instead like to say that this is written by insiders deeeeep in the book-jacket-creation industry. So deep they use language and terms steeped in the technical usages of that world. I'm here for it!! Because, while they do use language very much in the specific ways of their field of expertise, they don't just to What a fantastic analysis of all things book jackets/dust covers! I see some other reviewers calling it pedantic and scholarly - and while I can see where those comments come from - I'd instead like to say that this is written by insiders deeeeep in the book-jacket-creation industry. So deep they use language and terms steeped in the technical usages of that world. I'm here for it!! Because, while they do use language very much in the specific ways of their field of expertise, they don't just toss out terms; they define them (I mean, they must have given the definition of ekphrasis two or more times! I eventually got it.) and give tons and tons of real-life examples. It all helped me get a deeper understanding of how book jackets were and are made. This is definitely one of those non-fiction books that I loved so much while reading the copy I borrowed from the library that I'm tempted to purchase my own copy. Amusingly, it's an attractive book jacket that tends to get me to actually push that "buy" button in these situations... but I just don't find the cover of this all that great. (I didn't hate it, but it certainly wasn't all that thrilling for me) LOL, maybe that attractive spine will eventually break through? 4.5 stars Yes, I removed quarter of a star for a cover that failed to thrill me. The other quarter I removed because it took up until chapter 7/8 for them to explain the "edge" portion of subtitle.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Kailin Richardson

    Relevant, informative, and fun. Occasionally, it would read like a sophomore year English paper — you just started to find your footing in the literary world and are really excited to talk about your research and relate it to your current context, but you were accidentally so excited that you didn't realize you said the same thing a few too many times and could have developed it more, but that's okay because it's a strong foundation of important ideas and compelling conclusions and next year you' Relevant, informative, and fun. Occasionally, it would read like a sophomore year English paper — you just started to find your footing in the literary world and are really excited to talk about your research and relate it to your current context, but you were accidentally so excited that you didn't realize you said the same thing a few too many times and could have developed it more, but that's okay because it's a strong foundation of important ideas and compelling conclusions and next year you'll take them even further. Which, as a reader, I don't mind too much, because I'm also capable of leaving the book and thinking about the various concepts more on my own. Great work!

  7. 4 out of 5

    Zach

    It's a beautiful book to look at but that's the end of it. Which is not nothing. But also not everything. It's a beautiful book to look at but that's the end of it. Which is not nothing. But also not everything.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Elise

    I was a bit disappointed by this book. There is not many books about book's covers, so maybe my expectations were too high. I think the writting is quite poor and not well organize. Moreover, the text often refers to covers that are not necessarily shown in the book and when they are they are on separate pages. Not exactly fluid. And the text describing the covers being written vertically might be "cool" for the design, but it's annoying for the reading experience. All in all, it's very superfici I was a bit disappointed by this book. There is not many books about book's covers, so maybe my expectations were too high. I think the writting is quite poor and not well organize. Moreover, the text often refers to covers that are not necessarily shown in the book and when they are they are on separate pages. Not exactly fluid. And the text describing the covers being written vertically might be "cool" for the design, but it's annoying for the reading experience. All in all, it's very superficial and more of a history of graphic design than a real comparaison of diferents covers for the same book, an explanation of how the process works, of the visions of different countries, etc. "Classic Penguin: Cover to cover" was a much better exploration of the subject.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Larry

    I thought I was going to love it. In the end I only liked it. There are some wonderful book covers illustrated within. But the text can be a bit repetitive and pedantic. And most of the examples provided are older (some much older) books. Don't get me wrong, seeing many of them brought back fond memories, but it isn't a wide-reaching survey. And, in a couple of the later chapters, most of the examples are of the author's work. If you can get it from your local library, it's worth the effort. But I thought I was going to love it. In the end I only liked it. There are some wonderful book covers illustrated within. But the text can be a bit repetitive and pedantic. And most of the examples provided are older (some much older) books. Don't get me wrong, seeing many of them brought back fond memories, but it isn't a wide-reaching survey. And, in a couple of the later chapters, most of the examples are of the author's work. If you can get it from your local library, it's worth the effort. But don't spend $50 on it.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Eric

    A visual delight, to be sure. But the overly pedantic and academic text drains the life and joy out of both reading literature and relishing the often beautiful covers that package it. As a designer and a teacher of my craft, it makes me question the value of deconstructing a creative process and if it can actually end up extinguishing the spark that makes great design in the first place. Then again, maybe I’m not the audience for this book. (Well, ok, then who is?)

  11. 5 out of 5

    Antonio Delgado

    ‘The Look of the Book’ is an interesting book about book covers. The book has an astonishing design, and includes several iconic known books covers with some other less known, Even though its content does not intend to be exhaustive, it is almost limited to mainly American editions, and to well-known authors. The information about the art of book designing is informative, without being critical on the predatory business of publishing. For moments, the book is self-contained into the great work o ‘The Look of the Book’ is an interesting book about book covers. The book has an astonishing design, and includes several iconic known books covers with some other less known, Even though its content does not intend to be exhaustive, it is almost limited to mainly American editions, and to well-known authors. The information about the art of book designing is informative, without being critical on the predatory business of publishing. For moments, the book is self-contained into the great work of Peter Mendelsund, in particular the covers of his that remained unpublish until now. That is not a bad thing. After all, I sometimes avoid purchasing a book until finding a cover differently than the American paperback editions. In addition, as a reader who owns several copies of the same books because of their covers, I was eager to know more about book covers and the politics regarding this arduous work. At moments some parts of this book feel like than a continuation of ‘What We See When Read.’

  12. 4 out of 5

    Dan Trefethen

    This is a handsome coffee table book that will attract all book lovers. While the text discusses the art and production of book covers (i.e. jackets mostly), most of the book consists of images showing examples of iconic covers, various covers of the same book (Ulysses, Lolita, Moby Dick), and some rejected covers. It discusses and displays the elements of a cover that type a book as a certain kind of book, whether 'big book' (famous literary fiction), genre (science fiction, mystery, thriller) This is a handsome coffee table book that will attract all book lovers. While the text discusses the art and production of book covers (i.e. jackets mostly), most of the book consists of images showing examples of iconic covers, various covers of the same book (Ulysses, Lolita, Moby Dick), and some rejected covers. It discusses and displays the elements of a cover that type a book as a certain kind of book, whether 'big book' (famous literary fiction), genre (science fiction, mystery, thriller) or other (obscure post-modern novel). The book really deals only with fiction, not non-fiction. Apparently non-fiction covers aren't nearly as interesting, at least not to the authors. I would argue with this, but realize that a non-fiction book must convey some immediate impression of the contents, rather than the fictional book whose cover may be enigmatic. You could spend a pleasant hour or so leafing through this book. It wouldn't take much longer than that to appreciate its message and examples.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Jessie Drew

    I would’ve given it 5 stars if it had included A LOT MORE FEMALE AUTHORS. And yes I know that the systemic patriarchal publishing industry, any industry really, were oppressing women and not the two authors of this book. BUT they’re publishing a book now, not then and so I think it appropriate to include as many books by women as possible.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Aaron Ambrose

    The first thing to say is how handsome this book is. Esthetically it is a real pleasure. Co-written by an actual book cover designer, there’s substance and know-how here, which makes it more than a catalog of beautiful book design. The narrative gets a little Fancy™️ at times, and a bit repetitive, but those are small quibbles for a genuinely enjoyable and insightful book.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Jessica

    Oh this is one of the best books I have randomly grabbed out of non fiction section. As a Book lover this book sang to my heart. I will be buying my own copy to have at home, more people should take a look in the book cover book.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Andrea

    If you judge books by their cover and aren't afraid to admit it, this book is for you. It's a fascinating, thoughtful, and beautiful look at literature and design. If you judge books by their cover and aren't afraid to admit it, this book is for you. It's a fascinating, thoughtful, and beautiful look at literature and design.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Elisa David

    A beautiful art book - Such an unexploited subject, yet fascinating.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Lisa Roberts

    Fun book to look through.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Linda

    What a treat! What started as a game became incredibly informative. The cover and end papers allow for a "name that book" because of the snippets of various books peppered throughout. The art involved, the history, the bond between the cover design and the writing, the number of factors that compose a dust jacket (including negative space). I will definitely pay more attention to the concepts of a book's cover from now on. I am so glad I was able to read this book. What a treat! What started as a game became incredibly informative. The cover and end papers allow for a "name that book" because of the snippets of various books peppered throughout. The art involved, the history, the bond between the cover design and the writing, the number of factors that compose a dust jacket (including negative space). I will definitely pay more attention to the concepts of a book's cover from now on. I am so glad I was able to read this book.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Bill

    My copy was entitled “The Look of the Book.” It was beautiful to look at but overwhelming. I got a kick out identifying the covers of books I read years ago from only a scrap or a small portion of the cover. It was also fun to reminisce about the books upon recognizing the cover of a former read. And it was interesting to see the many different covers used on the various editions published of some books. There was way more info than I was interested in reading on the designing and creating of th My copy was entitled “The Look of the Book.” It was beautiful to look at but overwhelming. I got a kick out identifying the covers of books I read years ago from only a scrap or a small portion of the cover. It was also fun to reminisce about the books upon recognizing the cover of a former read. And it was interesting to see the many different covers used on the various editions published of some books. There was way more info than I was interested in reading on the designing and creating of the covers and their relative influence on marketing and selling of the books.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Elijah

    This book hit the spot. Just beautifully presenting a lot of interesting information and ideas about cover design and its purpose in the world of literature, which I eat up like crazy. I love book covers, but this book really challenged my conception that 'beautiful' or 'cool-looking' was their end purpose. I think my main take away is going to be the crucial and active role that the cover can play in interpretation, when done well. I will also take away that publishers used to bind books in hum This book hit the spot. Just beautifully presenting a lot of interesting information and ideas about cover design and its purpose in the world of literature, which I eat up like crazy. I love book covers, but this book really challenged my conception that 'beautiful' or 'cool-looking' was their end purpose. I think my main take away is going to be the crucial and active role that the cover can play in interpretation, when done well. I will also take away that publishers used to bind books in human skin.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Bookish

    Of course I judge a book by its cover!

  23. 4 out of 5

    Bob

    You don’t have to be a designer of book covers to learn something about design from “The Look of the Book.” Anyone involved in choosing art — photos, illustrations, paintings, typography for any print medium — anyone making decisions about images and fonts for websites, videos, advertisements — may find inspiration in the pictures and text on the 200-plus pages of this colorful large-format book. (FYI: It’s not inexpensive: $50. I got a copy from the library.) Those in the book industry may find it You don’t have to be a designer of book covers to learn something about design from “The Look of the Book.” Anyone involved in choosing art — photos, illustrations, paintings, typography for any print medium — anyone making decisions about images and fonts for websites, videos, advertisements — may find inspiration in the pictures and text on the 200-plus pages of this colorful large-format book. (FYI: It’s not inexpensive: $50. I got a copy from the library.) Those in the book industry may find it a enlightening, too, or maybe just a fun review of the development of book cover design. There are so many creative book covers, covers that are almost sneaky clever, covers that straddle the fence between are and advertising, and such interesting strategies for attracting buyers and readers. Various genre of books have come to have a very standardized style, signaling, for example, that works by Tom Clancy, John Grisham, James Patterson and the like are mass market suspense thrillers by large, often foil printed type, all caps, of both author and title, and dark backgrounds. Literary fiction, on the other hand, features large type as well but typically light backgrounds and handmade elements, mostly decorative patterns. For those outside the book industry the book offers a look inside the publishing world’s mechanism for deciding what a book’s cover should be. This lengthy excerpt explains well what the cover means to all stakeholders, including us readers: “Authors, agents, and editors want their books represented accurately and beautifully. Designers want their work to stand out as original and striking. Publishers want book covers that gin up publicity and led to sales. And readers of course are not just readers, but also people who use books in all sorts of ways beyond the obvious — to decorate homes, to populate social media, and to display their taste, lifestyle and personal brand.” The books on your shelves are “shelfies”; they reveal through their cover designs who you are. And the best covers, the authors suggest, transmit a feeling, the essential quality of an author’s creation.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Ann Marie

    🎉Attention fellow book cover judgers! This is our book! 🎉 The Look of the Book features sumptuous artwork from book covers all throughout history, from the first book jackets to the modern graphic covers of today. It analyzes the evolution of cover art, the reasons behind certain design choices, the ethics of certain covers (Umm, hello there, Lolita) the history behind iconic covers, the tension between the publisher and cover artist, and so much more that I could talk about for DAYS. I could not 🎉Attention fellow book cover judgers! This is our book! 🎉 The Look of the Book features sumptuous artwork from book covers all throughout history, from the first book jackets to the modern graphic covers of today. It analyzes the evolution of cover art, the reasons behind certain design choices, the ethics of certain covers (Umm, hello there, Lolita) the history behind iconic covers, the tension between the publisher and cover artist, and so much more that I could talk about for DAYS. I could not put this big, beautiful book down trying to savor all the gorgeous covers featured on each page. It's honestly the perfect coffee table book for cover lovers like us. One of the most interesting parts was how the book described the different processes of creating book covers, from the older hand drawn designs to the modern covers designed through computer software. But then it also traces the recent movement right back around to the handmade looking covers, which look more organic amidst many computer generated ones. I also really enjoyed the way it would highlight certain cover designers and show a section of their greatest hits in which you could see how their own design sense connected each cover they had made, no matter the genre. My most favorite part of this book though was the way that it celebrated and acknowledged how incredibly important book cover design is. It spoke of the ineffable moment between book cover and reader that causes a "visual-accoustic shock" in which you're temporarily suspended in the world the cover just conjured up for you and you just know you need more. I don't know about you, but it made me feel downright NOBLE in being a bit of a book cover snob.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Ashley Lambert-Maberly

    I'm often disappointed by books about covers—they're so often simply examples, which are easy enough to come by by simply browsing a bookstore, any bookstore. This is a large book, both in height/width and number of pages, and there was enough room to include a quantity of text alongside a plethora of examples. It showed histroical examples, it broke down the components of the book cover, it went behind-the-scenes at book cover design (and decision making--often several covers are proposed, and e I'm often disappointed by books about covers—they're so often simply examples, which are easy enough to come by by simply browsing a bookstore, any bookstore. This is a large book, both in height/width and number of pages, and there was enough room to include a quantity of text alongside a plethora of examples. It showed histroical examples, it broke down the components of the book cover, it went behind-the-scenes at book cover design (and decision making--often several covers are proposed, and editorial staff and marketing weigh in), and the inclusion of alternate unused covers was instructive. It was well written and enjoyable throughout, falling just short of 5 stars because I can't imagine treating it as a beloved classic worth revisiting every few years as I might M.F.K. Fisher on food, or even Bad Movies We Love which always gets me giggling. (Note: 5 stars = amazing, wonderful, 4 = very good book, 3 = decent read, 2 = disappointing, 1 = awful, just awful. I'm fairly good at picking for myself so end up with a lot of 4s).

  26. 5 out of 5

    Lisa

    This book is a sumptuous, glorious feast for the eyes! The texture of the cover, with its raised detailing, invites you in for eye candy, particularly of the vintage literary set. The pages are thick and meaningful. The reader wants to spend time soaking-in, before moving onto the next page. Within the preface there is a beautiful, smaller book with photographs of old book covers and a smattering of typewriter-fond words. "Like a bag of potato chips or a television commercial, book covers have a This book is a sumptuous, glorious feast for the eyes! The texture of the cover, with its raised detailing, invites you in for eye candy, particularly of the vintage literary set. The pages are thick and meaningful. The reader wants to spend time soaking-in, before moving onto the next page. Within the preface there is a beautiful, smaller book with photographs of old book covers and a smattering of typewriter-fond words. "Like a bag of potato chips or a television commercial, book covers have an obvious mandate, which is to sell a commodity, except in the case of literature the commodity is also art". I love this book so much because it keeps inviting me in. I appreciate the academic analysis as much as I appreciate looking at the photos of book covers themselves. I think the readership for this book has a wide range and I encourage all bibliophiles to purchase this for themselves. Mendelsund and Alworth do an outstanding job by not "judging a book by its cover", but rather, basking in the glories so many have to offer.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Burcu

    This is the first time I am reading a book on cover design and my expectations were quite high. The book covers a lot of aspects about the practice itself; what it entails, what it means, where it is evolving to and why. I enjoyed the rich perspective, reading real life cases and stories from designers and even authors. I appreciated the effort put into balancing out the technical and commercial design process with the historical, cultural stance. The book can feel too fragmented to read at time This is the first time I am reading a book on cover design and my expectations were quite high. The book covers a lot of aspects about the practice itself; what it entails, what it means, where it is evolving to and why. I enjoyed the rich perspective, reading real life cases and stories from designers and even authors. I appreciated the effort put into balancing out the technical and commercial design process with the historical, cultural stance. The book can feel too fragmented to read at times, although the structure makes sense in the beginning, yet the way content is put together can be disrupting the reading flow. I felt many times some points were being made randomly, examples could have been organized better. I found some major points were surfaced out too late, hidden towards the end. All and all this is an inspiring start to those who want to dig deeper into cover design. Definitely a valuable, extensive work.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Dana

    A good book cover is not only based on the text inside. Other factors like the genre, the country the text is originally from, the country it is being sold in, and the current trends in book covers also go into a cover's design. It's not just the author who decides what will be the first impression of their book, but a whole team of editors, graphic designers, and marketing experts contribute to this decision. In this digital age, a book cover must look as good as the tiny icon on a website as i A good book cover is not only based on the text inside. Other factors like the genre, the country the text is originally from, the country it is being sold in, and the current trends in book covers also go into a cover's design. It's not just the author who decides what will be the first impression of their book, but a whole team of editors, graphic designers, and marketing experts contribute to this decision. In this digital age, a book cover must look as good as the tiny icon on a website as it does in print. As someone who uses a visual platform to share the books I've read, The Look of the Book has made me appreciate book covers even more. It has a good balance of text and photographs. It provides numerous examples of cover trends and dissects the parts of a cover. The Look of the Book is able to weave art, literature, graphic design, and marketing in order to explain how a book cover is created.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Neil Pasricha

    Zoom in on the picture of this book at the top of this email. There are little snippets from 14 different book covers. How many do you recognize? I think I got maybe seven or eight. This book doesn’t even pretend to denounce the phrase “You can’t judge a book by its cover” – it just glorifies that the opposite is true, takes us on a vivid and wonderful history of book covers, and lets us mentally explore the specific power that book jackets provide. Especially in this new day and age of icons-an Zoom in on the picture of this book at the top of this email. There are little snippets from 14 different book covers. How many do you recognize? I think I got maybe seven or eight. This book doesn’t even pretend to denounce the phrase “You can’t judge a book by its cover” – it just glorifies that the opposite is true, takes us on a vivid and wonderful history of book covers, and lets us mentally explore the specific power that book jackets provide. Especially in this new day and age of icons-and-one-inch-avatars-for-everything. (Do not get me started on Memojis.) Veers a bit too fiction-only for my tastes and the organization is scattered like a messy desk. But if you like messy desks and want to stroke your inner book nerd, you will find great joy in this book.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Doug

    This was fantastic. Just what you want it to be. A book about book covers- you hope there are lots of pictures. And there are. Very high quality printing, pictures, a delight to look at. You get both breadth (lots of different books) and depth (All sorts of book covers for a classic book like Ulysses). You also want to learn more about book covers, and that doesn't disappoint either. You learn about what is involved in cover design and how the sausage is made - and it is fascinating. And you also This was fantastic. Just what you want it to be. A book about book covers- you hope there are lots of pictures. And there are. Very high quality printing, pictures, a delight to look at. You get both breadth (lots of different books) and depth (All sorts of book covers for a classic book like Ulysses). You also want to learn more about book covers, and that doesn't disappoint either. You learn about what is involved in cover design and how the sausage is made - and it is fascinating. And you also get a deeper understanding, beyond the technical. Things about how it is different then 10 years ago. This was a high quality book that I enjoyed thoroughly.

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