Books as Objects

September 4, 2014

Art Inspires Fiction: On the Power of Jacket Design 6

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I loved this photograph in all its weirdness and, more to the point, I was just relieved that no one was proposing slapping on my novel the image of a woman holding a briefcase, a baby, or a mop.

January 27, 2014

Judging Books by Their Covers 2014: U.S. Vs. U.K. 17

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We are undoubtedly swayed by the little billboard that is the cover of every book we read.

April 2, 2013

The Point of the Paperback 15

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Here’s what I learned, after a month of talking to editors, literary agents, publishers, and other authors: A paperback isn’t just a cheaper version of the book anymore. It’s a makeover. A facelift. And for some, a second shot.

February 11, 2013

Judging Books by Their Covers 2013: U.S. Vs. U.K. 55

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We are undoubtedly swayed by the little billboard that is the cover of every book we read.

July 19, 2012

Prescriptivists vs. Descriptivists: The Fifth Edition of The American Heritage Dictionary 21

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For all its many virtues, the fifth edition is not perfect. Its one glaring flaw is an introductory essay written by the chairman of the Usage Panel, Steven Pinker, a Harvard University linguist and cognitive scientist who is also an avowed descriptivist. What’s that whirring noise I hear? Is it William Morris, who died in 1994, spinning in his grave?

February 8, 2012

Judging Books by Their Covers: U.S. Vs. U.K. 63

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We are undoubtedly swayed by the little billboard that is the cover of every book we read.

January 5, 2012

The Soundtrack of Our Books 16

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Publishers and authors have begun to experiment more with audio as a natural step in the promotion of their books. But recent trends suggest that readers are looking for even more direct ways to incorporate music into the reading experience.

August 15, 2011

The E-Reader of Sand: The Kindle and the Inner Conflict Between Consumer and Booklover 60

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It occurred to me that Borges would have been thrilled and horrified in equal measure by the Kindle. In fact, in a weird way, he sort of invented it.

February 2, 2011

Judging Books by Their Covers: U.S. Vs. U.K. 51

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Book cover design is a strange exercise in which one attempts to distill iconic imagery from hundreds of pages of text.

July 23, 2010

On My Shelves 7

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Sometimes I wish I were that man in the Twilight Zone episode who finds himself in the ruins of a public library, with lots of food and all the time in the world to read all the books he wants.