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Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Ten Storey Love Song

Design by Milan Bozic

I hope there's a word or a name for this -- and by "this" I mean a novel that starts on the front cover of the book. It's been done before (on a few older Penguins(?)), but can't put my hands on any other examples at the moment. Anyone got any? (UPDATE: See the comments for at least one other example several other examples.)

And the coolest thing about this, BTW: verso pages are even-numbered, and recto pages odd-numbered, right? Are you sure? Click the images to enlarge and check.


21 comments:

hobart said...

Eggers did it with his McSwys hardcover version of You Shall Know Our Velocity.

I know I've seen it elsewhere too, though nothing else jumps immediately to mind.

Joseph said...

I think I can actually find that book on my shelves! Off to look...

Joseph said...

Yup, the You Shall Know Our Velocity hardcover does it. Unfortunately, I have the paperback. Anyone know if the pagination is reversed in the Eggers hardcover?

Jonathan Polk said...

John Gardner's The Life and Times of Chaucer started on the cover, but all that text was reprinted on what would normally be page one. That's the only other example I can think of.

And David Foster Wallace's Brief Interviews with Hideous Men had the odd/even page numbers reversed too.

Alan Trotter said...

Non-fiction rather than a novel, but the text of John Berger's Ways of Seeing begins on the cover. (Odd/even page numbers aren't reversed though.)

umlaut said...

Following on from above, I remember reading - probably in Penguin by Design - that there was a bit of a row about Ways of Seeing at the time of publication.

In the end, the text on the front was repeated inside as it was deemed too radical otherwise. Can't imagine Berger being too happy about it.

Rebecca Matheson said...

I don't think I'm a fan. Part of the joy of a book is opening up to the first page.

Maarten Das said...

Starting the text already on the cover evokes a sense of urgency - like if you were to call a friend or go to their house, and before they can say "Hi, how are you?" you start blurting out what's on your mind. Kind of offensive perhaps, but it does grab your attention. Like whatever needs to be said cannot wait. Ofcourse, this doesn't work for every book - some books really need the ritual of carefully opening and closing what's inside, and for those books this approach would be desastrous.

dcrosby said...

Text on the cover is cool. Reversing the page numbers, not so much. Why not just start on a verso since your shaking things up anyhow?

Alan Trotter said...

umlaut: I think you're right about the original Ways of Seeing having the front text repeated inside – Amazon's Look Inside version of the book definitely does. Maybe Penguin are trying to make amends now though – the text in the new edition they published last year just runs straight on from the cover to page one.

I'm sure I remember reading somewhere the publisher felt that the You Shall Know Our Velocity text cover ended up hurting sales. It's killing me, but I can't remember where though.

Sentenciero said...

Even though I don't actually like the cover, the idea is amazing!! Hadn't seen it before.

Westrow said...

If on a Winter's Night a Traveller by Italo Calvino, in the UK version. This is a link to the revised paperback design - http://www.amazon.co.uk/Winters-Night-Traveller-Italo-Calvino/dp/0749399236/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1256751545&sr=1-2 - the earlier design had the text larger, I think. If memory serves, the text is repeated at the beginning of page 1, but ...

orlando said...

I'm not a fan. I don't hate it either. It just seems "kinda stupid." thats the worst kind.

CarolinaVK said...

I like it as an experiment, but it does seem funny to have everything there in the open.

It may work for the publisher in the sense that nowadays they invest in printing first chapters and things like that as teasers. The first paragraphs are the best teasers I can think of.

Nick said...

Also the first edition of Toni Morrison's The Bluest Eye: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/9/9c/BluestEye.JPG

mog said...

I like the idea of starting the book on the first page, and I like the idea of reversing even/odd pagination...but I'm not sure it makes sense to do both at the same time. I mean, if you think about it, the book cover is kind of a right-hand page, in that it opens to the left...

...plus, it just seems unnecessary. Choose one gimmick! Together, they just sort of...diminish each other...

estelle said...

My copy of Ways of Seeing definitely has the first page text reprinted on the inside, which I thought strange: 'But I've already read that?'

Ben said...

Gimmicks aside, this thing is uuuugggly.

Vadim said...

Yes, Eggers definitely comes to mind.
Also the hardcover version of Jeff VanderMeer's "City Of Saints & Madmen" had an entire short story on the cover.

Jason Alejandro said...

One of our designers, Pam Schnitter, did that for Wolfgang Sofsky's Privacy. You can see it here: on the Princeton University Press blog.

Design Jack said...

For those who say it doesn't make sense or seems inappropriate, it suits the book which is entirely inappropriate throughout and is an attempt at a different kind of novel. Its fast paced literature, so you don't want to have to waste time turning to the first page. Hope they moved the colophon etc as well.