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20 April 2010

Book jackets - face savers or design elements?

The literary range of BCJ
There is a new face on the market! Well, not a face, a cover that saves face. There is a website that caters to the reading and interior design markets called Book City Jackets. They have created a range of covers to slip over your book if you are embarrassed about what you are reading. You can make it look like you are reading "serious books” while you are actually reading your beloved trashy paperbacks. Or you can cover up an unattractive cover (I personally hate the Penguin Classics' orange covers, but that is just me) or a tattered cover with something attractive. They have two basic types of covers. One has the title of a classic literature novel (such as Moby Dick, Ulysses, War & Peace) emblazoned across the cover, the other has line art.

I am a bit scornful of the “serious” titles, but I have to admit the first romance novel I owned, I painted an abstract design and covered the book with it. I still have that book somewhere… I was 11 and didn’t want my friends know that I was reading M&B. Silly, because I was reading Sweet Valley University and some fantasy that was more graphic and more embarrassing in my peer group LOL I have reached the stage these days that proudly proclaim the fact that I love trashy paperbacks. I like reading paranormal romance, dabbling in romance, and I have always loved trashy fantasy and pulp science fiction (you know the type – they normally have over sized mammaries and rippling eight-packs!). I used to be embarrassed when people perve on my books on the trains, now if they show particular interest I just tell them it is a good book, show them a closer look at the cover if they are interested, and ignore them if their eyes pop out as they read a sex scene over my shoulder. I can’t help it that they have hang ups! I read what I read, and I am not going to hide it.

But others might wish to, and that is where these products come into play. You can cover up the bindings, the cheesy or raunchy images, the embarrassing titles or author’s details with something that is less suggestive of your reading habits and something that says “I only read big books”. Does anyone else look at these and think of a Film Noir spy in a trench coat, fedora and dark glasses? Surely it is more suspicious if you are obscuring the cover than if you were blending in? Ask someone who knows. I am more embarrassed of the M&B novel I covered as an 11 year old now as an adult than I was then. Now it is obvious I was trying to hide what I was reading LOL And it looks so out of place on my bookshelf. I think these covers would have more play in the house of someone conscious of interior design ascetics. If you are reading your books frequently, covering the bindings with non-related covers does not make much sense (it makes them harder to find) but if you are designing a pretty lounge room, they would be ideal. I think this comes down to the question – What is a book to you? Function or design element? If you answered design element, consider buying these in bulk. They are quite attractive. Better yet if anyone wants something like this, just buy some brown paper and some permanent pens… It is a hell of a lot cheaper!!

The pretty line art of the artistic range of BCJ
One of the unwrapped book jackets - I do love the kraken!

Stylish, no?

I freely admit that I want this book jacket! Maybe I should use it to cover my copy of Portrait of an Artist of a Young Man?

Pretty, it reminds me of some vintage children's books I read in my youth...
The design element... I couldn't find any that had the literary covers, but viewing the above pictures, you should get the gist.

So what do you think? Would you use these? I would love to hear your thoughts.


VanyelK said...

Wow those are pretty.
I've actually used some of these sorts of jackets because when you buy a book in Japan they actually wrapped the books up for me with these automatically (it has the name of the store on it). Not as pretty though. I like the idea because whilst romance books get you a look, imagine being a girl reading a book with 2 naked hot men on the cover (it was a gay mystery, but the cover looked like gay erotica). So I like it

obsidiantears83 said...

I may make some of these type of book dusters of various sizes. There might be a market for them if I sell them on Etsy. I could make my own paper as well! Actually hand made paper isn’t very durable… I’m totally going to research this!

I don’t have any problem with people reading M/M erotica, but I do understand why the cover was inappropriate for a M/M mystery. Damn, a mystery wouldn’t even be M/M – it would just be a mystery LOL There are a lot of nosy people on those trains… It goes back to that discussion we started to have at book club last night (before we started arguing if they were fake boobs or mashed on his chest). I don’t have problems with the sexy nature of the covers of the books I read, and I do read them on the train. If people want to perve on the cover, it is up to them. I have my music going, and I just ignore them if they want to give me crap about what I read, or ask invasive questions. But I can understand other people having reservations about what they are reading and how the covers reflect back on them.

Max California said...

Yes I am definitely making these! I love the brown-paper! I should have one that says "NOT SMUT" on the front. lol

obsidiantears83 said...

OMG! Dude, if you make a Not Smut book cover, I want one! Also, you can probably sell it on Etsy LOL

If you do make them, can I get you to do a guest post on my blog? With major linkage to your blog?

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