Japanese book jackets
February 24, 2008 3:18 PM   Subscribe

Slideshow: Japanese book jackets. via
posted by vronsky (5 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
This is very compelling. Thanks.
posted by OmieWise at 3:45 PM on February 24, 2008

Something interesting that I've noticed in Western cover design is that the design is chosen by genre. There's the obvious, like the weird semi-porn of romance novels, but if you walk down the "Military History" line, for example, you are going to see a lot of covers done in black with sans-serif typesetting. I have one next to me now: The Spanish Civil War, by Paul Preston. Heavily generic fantasy novels tend to have raised metallic type on the front cover, along with a pseudo-Romantic painting. Here's an example. Computer books, not surprisingly, tend to be very plain and "systemic." Oddly enough, the good ones (O'Reilly, a few others) are spare and empty, while the ones that sell better and contain more errors tend to be done in bright, ugly colors; walking through the computer section in Barnes & Noble is a miserable experience.

Basically, in the West, I think cover art design is approached as marketing. "Girly books" have pink covers. Westerns have a cowboy on them. Fantasy has a barbarian with a scantily clad woman. (Well, not all of it.) Only books with slim market appeal get anything approaching a decent cover.

Oddly, most of these books are also pretty good as literature, as well.
posted by sonic meat machine at 4:02 PM on February 24, 2008 [1 favorite]

It's good to hear Nick Currie's dulcet tones. Thanks for this great post!
posted by Deconstruct Now! at 4:41 PM on February 24, 2008

He often has something interesting to say:
posted by sebastienbailard at 3:57 AM on February 25, 2008

Then again, there's Japanese paperback covers for Western novels: http://flickr.com/photos/thedaniel/1463946617/
posted by thedaniel at 11:10 AM on February 25, 2008

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