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Sunday, October 18, 2009

They're Not Booing, They're Saying Boook

Designs by Robert Jensen

"A BüK is an inexpensive pamphlet—just $1.49—containing one provocative essay, short story, portfolio of pictures, collection of poems, or other surprising entertainment, readable in the time it takes to drink a cup of coffee" (from the BükAmerica Web site).

We don't talk about the business of publishing much here, but I wonder if (and hope that) there's room for this kind of chapbook meets the Pocket Penguins approach. Thoughts?

(PS: I did ask publisher Lisa Lyons about the use of everyone's favorite typeface, Comic Sans. Through her, designer Robert Jensen said: “It seemed apt. And as Vincent Connare, its creator, has written: "If you love comic sans, you really don’t know much about typography. And if you hate it, you really don’t know much about typography either." That quote always makes me giggle; here's a great article about Comic Sans and its creator.)


Jose Nieto said...

That's a droll line from Vincent Connare. It is, however, perfectly wrong: it is quite possible to know a lot about typography (and understand and appreciate the reasons for Comic Sans's design) and still hate it's continued thoughtless use. I mean, it's bad enough to use speech balloons, but then to fill them with Comic Sans? Because of the name? It would have been best to hire a lettering artist, but if you are going to use an off-the-rack typeface how about one that looks like it might have been used in a speech balloon?

Eve said...

I had no idea about all the Comic Sans controversy. I love that it made a column in the WSJ.

These buks are all new to me. Thanks for doing a feature on them.

Anonymous said...

I like this idea for this reason:

It's a great way to get literature and graphic art into the hands of people who are rapidly developing really short attention spans and who otherwise don't give a lick about art (both literary and visual) or reading that involves a commitment of mental energy and time.

However, I'm skeptical for this reason:

I'm assuming that in the vein of 18th- and 19th-century pamphleteers, the publishers would want these in the hands of the masses. But why would people pay for something that they most likely wouldn't read for free (online). Unless you drop ship them from hot-air balloons over small towns in middle America, I think this is a better idea than a real service to humanity.

There are many differences between us and the people of the 18th, 19th, and early 20th centuries, obviously. The main one in this case is that today information is available EVERYWHERE. (And for free.)

I'd love to see something like this take off, I LOVE the idea. But I'm wondering if these pamphlets will ever make it into the hands of people who would most benefit from them.

On a side note:

A great article on such a pamphleteer appeared in The Believer magazine in September 2008 by Rolf Potts entitled, "The Henry Ford of Literature."

Here's the link:

This opens the door to a whole different discussion. Would it be a better idea if whomever was publishing these pamphlets wasn't doing so from a metropolis (L.A.), but from a smaller city where there are higher concentrations of less world-saavy people.

Joseph said...

Thanks for that Believer link. Looking forward to reading that.

Ian Shimkoviak said...

these are great. The idea is great. I think that while they may not be the best design and typeface choice, they could really become a hip, pop kind of item. I'm all for anyway to get a good read in the hands of the vast reading and non-reading public.

These actually sound right up my alley. Quick read before my day gets sucked up with commitments.

Tropolist said...

Wow, the Murakami short was a real surprise. Especially that one, of everything he's written. Seeing his work dressed that way makes me realize how much I appreciate the severity of the Kidd/Gall designs.