Posts Tagged ‘Chip Kidd’

Book Links 9-11-12

September 11, 2012

Book selling seems to be a rough sport down under. Dymocks, an Australian book seller, is pulling entirely out of New Zealand. Meanwhile, Rupert Murdoch’s nephew Matt Handbury is selling his international press, Murdoch Books, to the larger publisher Allen and Unwin. This consolidation of publishers is something we should maybe start getting used to. On a related note…

Harper Collins has reached new agreements to sell its ebooks. And Amazon immediately slashes prices on two best sellers to $10.  Contrary to popular belief, converting to a digital format doesn’t appear to erase the majority of the costs for publishing companies. It’s not surprising that this misconception exists, I was under it at one time, too. However, from all that I’ve read about it the actual creation of the physical book, the paper and cardboard and ink, makes up all of 20% of the price of the books we buy. The rest of those costs? Well, some go to the writer (hopefully). Some go to the publisher as profit (again, hopefully). A lot goes to people like editors, designers, marketers, etc. Actual people who work damn hard to make a book good and interesting. And, yes, covers matter. The physical design of a book matters. I still STILL covet my hardcover of The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle because of the awesome Chris Ware designed cover. Murakami’s recent 1Q84 has an equally incredible cover by Chip Kidd. I scoop up Criterion Collection movies from used stores partly because the movies are great but also because they put a lot of effort in making awesome inserts to go with the movie.   Okay, rant over. There’s just a good reason that ebooks shouldn’t head straight to Clearance Bin level prices – especially if ebooks become the primary mode of distribution. People deserve to be paid for their work.

Speaking of Chris Ware, he has a new object coming out. Building Stories. I haven’t seen it yet, obviously, but I’m a big fan and this thing is just neat looking. I’m still trying to decide if I have the money to throw down on it. I’m thinking of getting it and, if I do,  a review will go up here fast.  I just heart Chris Ware.

Finally, the short list for the Booker prize has been announced.

Book Links 8-6-2012

August 6, 2012

a little late, but that’s better than never.  Been a long day, wrestling with a television and an uncooperative wall mount. With the help of some strategically deformed hockey cards, it is close to level. Anyway, on to the links!

First is this brief interview of Chip Kidd on NPR. He designs book covers for Knopf. You’ve seen his work. And he seems to have become a fiercely captivating defender of books as actual, physical objects. The one thing that stuck out, and it’s at the end of the article (an audio version is available at the top) is that hardcover books are really “luxury” items. I don’t disagree, but this is also where I see a problem with the trade paperbacks (TPB) that have become so popular, nearly entirely displacing the smaller, cheaper mass market paperback (MMPB). What it really boils down to, for me, is that TPBs are just too damn expensive for paperback books and have helped drive people away from actual physical books and into the arms of ereaders everywhere. Then again, it may have been a price move the publishing houses needed to make and could only justify it with the snazzier format. I don’t know. I just miss my cheap MMPBs. And, for anyone interested, here is Chip Kidd’s TedTalk.

PW has a short piece about how ebooks are also killing the backlists of publishers. When you walked into Borders and saw not just Grisham’s newest novel but the five million and seventy-four thousand others he had written, those were backlists. With far fewer book stores, sales for the backlists have been pushed into the cyberworld. And sales have went down. Shocking. It’s hard to sell a book when you can’t see it, especially amidst the mountain of product that is Amazon.

and here’s the only known video of Mark Twain.
Oh, and another piece at PW about the Department of Justice asking the court to ratify their plea agreement with three publishers in the government’s quest to hand the publishing industry over to Amazon. I’ve posted my distaste for Amazon more than once here, you can find it if you’re interested.  Cheaper doesn’t always (in fact, almost never) equals better.  While I miss cheap paperbacks, I understand it’s not my god given right to them. And that, eventually, you get what you pay for. So, if being able to pay $10 instead of $15 for a new book by your favorite author is worth this much to you, remember, eventually we all sow what we reap.  Sowing the end of a publishing industry that we know may not reap the glorious rewards some companies are promising.