BOOKISHNESS: The Case of Murakami’s 1Q84

April 24, 2013

The signed and numbered edition of Haruki Murakami’s 1Q84 is limited to exactly 111 copies. The front and back covers are printed on Somerset, a 100 percent cotton archival paper, using a Swiss-made 1963 Gietz Art Platen hand-fed letterpress. The covers were handprinted by Justin Knopp at Typoretum. Text pages printed and bound by Graphicom, Verona. The text design by Jim Smith. (more…)

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BOOKISHNESS: When the Physical Book Conveys Meaning

April 23, 2013

I’ve been collecting samples of “bookish” books for a couple of years now. I think these examples can help to clarify the concept of BOOKISHNESS.

There’s a whole category of lovely artist’s books, or books as art, or book arts. As beautiful and creative as they are, they’re a different creature than BOOKISHNESS. (more…)

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What Makes an e-Book Cover Unique?

November 9, 2011

I’ve seen two principal schools of thought surrounding covers for e-books.

Theory One: Book covers don’t really matter much any more.

Theory Two: Covers for e-books still matter a lot. They matter in a different way, and we’re not quite sure what makes it different, but they certainly do matter. (more…)


Mastering the Art of e-Book Formatting

October 16, 2011

Reading the New York Times article about the e-book version of Julia Child’s classic Mastering the Art of French Cooking you’d think that a milestone had been reached in the struggle for high-quality e-books. This 1961 book is one of the classics, and the publisher had a tradition to uphold.

Cookbooks have not been a big hit as e-books and part of the problem is assumed to be their complex formatting. Knopf in fact abandoned its first attempt to create an e-book from Mastering because the “technology was not available” to recreate the book’s “distinctive two-column format.”

The story of the Mastering the Art of French Cooking e-book affords an opportunity to look at the current state of e-book creation and the strengths and limitations of the e-book formats in use today. I call this tale Mastering the Art of e-Book Formatting. (more…)

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Miami Beach Expresses Itself

January 24, 2011

1. Read the article in today’s New York Times. It’s about a remarkable new structure in Miami’s South Beach.

2. Go to the new building’s web site, and click on this graphic:

3. After the well-designed flash images flash by, take time to interact with every graphic you can click on. Unlike so many sites that feature strong design elements, each click returns a useful image, a useful piece of information, or takes you to your next destination on the site.

4. Now pause to ponder.
What have you just encountered?
What does this mean to you?

5. Now answer yeah or nay:

(i) Does this look like a great building?
By great I mean audacious and original, fun yet functional.
Does it reveal to you something about the character of Miami Beach, whether you feel positive or negative.
(I’m guessing that you don’t develop strong feelings about most new building in the city where you live.)

(ii) Is this a great web site?
By great I mean audacious and original, fun yet functional.

(iii) Can you imagine accomplishing what this site accomplishes in any other medium?
Direct mail would just cheapen the image, unless a lot of money was spent on developing the piece.
A magazine could capture some of the bright images, but would be challenged to convey the motion.
Would you sit still through “the movie”?

(iv) Finally: Do you feel like you want to celebrate your next big birthday/anniversary/rebirth at 1111 Lincoln Road in Miami Beach, FL?

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