Friday, August 24, 2007


The dirty secret of book design: Almost all books are only seen by their spines. It's true. We spend hours choosing artists, getting pictures painted, working on layouts, going to meetings, debating the merits of each cover and starting all over again, and then...they get shelved and typically all anyone sees is an inch or so of spine. (Unless it's fantasy, in which case that spine will be about three inches, but still...) It's not a lot of room to make a statement but hopefully we can put something together that will encourage a reader to pull a book out and look at the rest of the cover.


Anonymous said...

Your site never disappoints, and I'm delighted to see that you've focused on the importance of spineage for those people who haven't given it that much thought.

Kim Newman's Secret Files of the Diogenes Club will finally appear in October (Monkeybrain), and since its odd spine has called my sanity into question, I can now simply point people to your fine demonstration.

lee moyer

Lou Anders said...

Irene - another great post.
Lee - the rest of that book is GORGEOUS!

Anonymous said...

"Almost all books are only seen by their spines."

Except online.

Michael Walsh

Irene Gallo said...

Good point!

Anonymous said...

I know this post is from a while ago, but I couldn't think of where else to ask - I recently ran into a spine design that made a design choice so, well, offensive and misleading, that I've gone an extra year from buying any books from the author (finally found it at the library, which made me okay with taking a chance on the recommended author.) (this was not a Tor title.)

Is there any point to (and how would one address) writing a letter to the relevant publisher's design department?

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