Prufrock's Page

Monday, March 26, 2007

Judging Him By His Covers

Random House's Chip Kidd, "highly regarded for his work on books by authors as diverse as Michael Crichton, John Updike and Haruki Murakami, as well as for DC Comics titles, has been in the vanguard of the new wave of American book design". He shares his thoughts on his work in an interview from Adelaide during which he expresses disdain for e-books: "The e-book hasn't taken off, and nor should it. A book is already the most economical piece of technology there is. Which is not the same as the audio book. People want to be able to listen to books in their car and I think that's great, but that hasn't replaced the printed book either."

He's equally scathing about what are called "print on demand" books, and has politely declined offers to design them: "It's fine for some obscure thing that you could never get any other way, for research, but in terms of anything that's archival, or anything that you'd want to hold . . . they showed me some of these books, and they're so proud of the fact that they can print and bind them in three minutes. And you're screwed right there, because you're going to get something that looks like it was printed and bound in three minutes. It's terrible glue oozing out top and bottom and it's antithetical to somebody who actually loves books."

(Meanwhile, Mark Danielewski has come up with a nefarious plan to create "a book that can't exist online")


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