Note: this post is not an advertisement. OP just likes books with nice design.
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1. Puffin In Bloom Collection
The gorgeous cover art on these children's classics is by Anna Bond (of Rifle Paper Co.). The books are in gold-foil embellished hardcover, come with matching bookmarks, and have ornate endpaper designs. Originally, the collection contained only Anne of Green Gables (LM Montgomery), Little Women (Louisa May Alcott), Heidi (Johanna Spyri), A Little Princess (Frances Burnett) and came in a little box set, but for the 150th anniversary of Alice in Wonderland (Lewis Carroll), that title was added to the collection. Alice got a bit of a special treatment compared to the other titles, as it comes with a dust jacket (and so actually boasts two different cover designs), plus 70 full-color, amazingggg illustrations.
2. Puffin Chalk Collection
This is also a series of children's classics by Puffin, a little bit less feminine than the In Bloom Collection. The covers are chalk art illustrations - YES SERIOUSLY it really is chalk! You can see on the time-lapse video the artist working on the Peter Pan cover, it's amazing. The books also boast French flaps, ilustrations and deckled edges (that's when the edges of the pages are sort of rough and uneven, it's pretty cool). The titles are Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll, Black Beauty by Anna Sewell, A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, Peter Pan by J. M. Barrie, Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren, The Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum.
3. Penguin Galaxy Series
These are hardcover editions of 6 classic works of sci-fi and fantasy, all with an introduction by Neil Gaiman: The Left Hand of Darkness (Ursula Le Guin), The Once and Future King (TH White), Neuromancer (William Gibson), Dune (Frank Herbert), 2001: A Space Odyssey (Arthur C. Clarke) and Stranger in a Strange Land (Robert Heinlein). The covers are by Alex Trochut and the set comes in a freaking jewel-box lucite showcase. (The whole set costs a small fortune but look at ittttt!).
4. White's Fine Editions
So, let me first tell you that I own the Pride and Prejudice volume out of this collection and can confirm it is amazing. First of all, these books are CLOTHBOUND. That's right. They are tall/large books, and the pages are actually sewn in (not glued) to make it sturdier. The color printed endpapers extend the cover design inside and the book even has small illustrations inside. The text is manually typeset and the page design is adapted to each book. I mean!!! It's really a treasure.
Currently, White's Books has published Jane Eyre (Charlotte Bronte), The Christmas Books (Charles Dickens), Treasure Island (Robert Louis Stevenson), Sonnets and Poems (Shakespeare), Wuthering Heights (Emily Bronte), Pride and Prejudice (Jane Austen), Emma (Jane Austen), Sherlock Holmes: His Greatest Cases (Arthur Conan Doyle).
5. Vintage Dystopias
Vintage Books allllways makes classics look cool and fresh (they also sell a lot of nice affordable paperbacks, not just fancy hardcovers). The Vintage Dystopia collection contains three classics of dystopian fiction (Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four and Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World), each with black, red and white minimalist designs by Noma Bar and a hardcover. The edges of the pages are also all blood red (how cool is that).
6. Vintage Heroes and Villains
See what I'm saying about Vintage! This a 12 book collection, featuring "some of literatures most (in)famous characters". I couldn't find much about the designer (turns out the collection has a tricky name to google), but as you can see the covers boast a striking quotation from the book instead of the title + name of the author, it's all very noir-ish.
The 12 books in the collection are: Dr. No (Ian Fleming), Brighton Rock (Graham Greene), Talented Mr. Ripley (Patricia Highsmith), The Woman in Black (Susan Hill), The Devil’s Star (Jo Nesbo), The Tiger in the Smoke (Margery Allingham), The Thirty Nine Steps (John Buchan), The Secret Agent (Joseph Conrad), Murder has a Motive (Francis Duncan), Dracula (Bram Stoker), Dr Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (Robert Louis Steveson), The Phantom of the Opera (Gaston Leroux).
7. Vintage Russian Classics
Unlike some of their minimalist collections (see above), this one is busy, busy, busy (and gorgeous). To mark the centenary of the Russian Revolution (hence the red), Vintage Classics published paperback editions of six of the greatest works of Russian literature. The covers are designed by Suzanne Dean using textile patterns from the collection of Susan Meller, who founded The Design Library in New York.
8. Virago Modern Classics Designer Collection
Virago is a publisher of books written by women. This designer hardback collection was meant to celebrate their 30 years and is made up of modern classic novels written by authors such as Daphne du Maurier, Angela Carter, Elizabeth Jenkins and others. The books are bound in colourful and patterned textiles designed by contemporary textile designers including Eley Kishimoto, Angie Levin or Lucienne Day, and contain an introduction written by another Virago author.
(Now Virago is 40 and they have another commemorative collection out, but they're paperbacks this time!)
9. Barnes & Noble Collectible Editions
These Barnes and Noble Collectible books boast bonded-leather bindings, gilt edging, decorated endpapers and a satin ribbon bookmark. It's a whole thing. They've got an absolutely massive range, everything from Winnie the Pooh to the Art of War. Whoever's got the money to collect them all (aka not me) can be assured of a very attractive library.
10. Folio Society Books
I definitely saved the best for last. The Folio Society books cost a fortune, but there's a good reason: they are, quite simply, works of art - in form and content. They are the epitome of good taste in book collecting. Folio Society publishes exquisite, high-end hardback editions of excellent fiction and nonfiction works – everything from classic novels like Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice to sci-fi like Frank Herbert’s Dune, and history books like Mary Beard's Pompeii. The books come inside beautifully illustrated slipcases, and specially commissioned illustrations are usually found throughout the book as well as on the cover.
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ONTD, do you buy the cheapest edition of a book, or do you like to splurge on a beautiful cover? Do you have a favourite book edition?