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Tuesday, May 12, 2009

The Two Kinds of Decay

Hardcover designed by Jennifer Carrow
Paperback designed by Alexander Knowlton


Author and poet Sarah Manguso's memoir documents her battle with CIPD, which attacks the myelin sheath of the peripheral nerves.

Both designs are pretty wonderful (hardcover is first, paperback after that), and they give me another opportunity to quote John Gall on the difference in designing hardcovers and trade paperbacks. It's worth repeating:

"There is definitely more freedom in hardcover design. Hardcover sales are generally review driven, so the cover doesn’t have to come on as strong and, I think, less people buy them on impulse because of their price. They’ll read a review and look for the book. The paperback does not have the fortune of being timed to the review attention, so the cover—we’re talking front list here—has to say something like “Remember me? You were waiting for me to come out in paperback? Remember? I’m the one the New York Times really liked, you know, the one about the guy with narcolepsy who likes the girl in the plaid skirt. …”




Here's the first post featuring the Gall quotation and a less-successful-than-this example.

8 comments:

H3NR7 said...

The designer of the FSG hardcover is Jennifer Carrow.

The designer of the Picador paperback is Alexander Knowlton

http://www.designrelated.com/profile/jennyc

http://www.alexanderwhitneyknowlton.com

Joseph said...

Damn, Henry, is there anything you can't do? :-)

Thanks.

H3NR7 said...

I can't really swim well.

Ian Shimkoviak said...

what is on the first cover?
I really cannot tell. They are both pretty. I like the later in terms of clarity...

Joseph said...

Ian: not sure if they're catheters, but definitely some kind of medical device.

Tropolist said...

The paperback is definitely more by-the-numbers, but I guess it does have that immediate, "this book is sad and about death" look. If that were the kind of book I was specifically looking for, I guess I would be more inclined to pick up the latter. Clich├ęd Design can be handy too.

term paper writing said...

I like the second cover (the one with bleeding hand). It's much artistic and fits the novel more.

Jason Gabbert said...

Thanks for sharing all of this Joseph. Great stuff! Keep it up!