Cover story — again
I return again this week to a familiar topic: book covers. The London-based publishing giant, Faber and Faber, has always been known for its striking covers. It has now published Eighty Years of Book Cover Design, a magnificent collection by novelist Joseph Connolly of some of its most arresting covers through the decades.
“A good cover”, as Peter Conrad writes in his review of the book in the Observer, “sums up uncountable thousands of words in one striking, tantalising image. Today, in a crowded market, covers are the armour that strengthens books to struggle for existence.”
Anyone who has lent his name to the cover of a book will know how crucial the damn thing is, and what anxiety and agony the making of it engenders. I am neurotic about it (agonizing as I am at the moment about the cover for my next), and it is good to know that others are similarly obsessed. The book offers us a fascinating exchange of letters between the writer Lawrence Durrell and Berthold Wolpe, one of Faber’s most famous cover designers.
Have a look at some of these marvellous covers.
As a reader, what do you think of covers? Does a striking cover pull you towards a book that is on the shelf?