Publication of The Book is still a few months away (if you haven’t circled August 23 on your calendar with a fat red marker pen, I urge you to do so right now), but I thought it might be nice to take a closer look at the book itself, both inside and out.
First, David High’s cover.* The image above is a rendering rather than the real thing, but the finished article should be quite something. Unlike Shady Characters, there’s no jacket here: the boards and binding tape (handily identified by one of the many explanatory captions set in Zuzana Licko’s Mrs Eaves) are deliberately exposed to reveal how the book is put together. The title, subtitle, publisher’s mark and other accompanying text are stamped onto the cover, rather than printed, in a neat echo of traditional metal-on-leather techniques. That title, incidentally, is set in Paul Renner’s evergreen Futura, as it was on the American hardback edition of Shady Characters; bonus points go to anyone who can identify the typeface used for the vertically-aligned “THE” next to the word “BOOK”.
Next is Judith Abbate’s splendid interior design, as composited by Brad Walrod. The first page of the introduction gives you a feel for just how rich the text is: it’s set in Robert Slimbach’s Adobe Jenson Pro Light, a modern revival of the work of French printer Nicolas Jenson, and is printed in the same black-and-red colour scheme used for Shady Characters.
There is much more to it than that, of course: the seventy-odd images that accompany the text, of which I hope to show you more later, will be printed in full colour; the book will be sewn rather than glued, which should make it a more pleasurable read and a hell of a lot more relevant to its content; and it even comes complete with some cut-out-and-keep templates for teaching yourself the ins and outs of different folding schemes. That said, if you like what you see here, you can order The Book in the USA from W. W. Norton, Amazon.com, Indiebound or Powell’s. In the rest of the world, order from Amazon.co.uk, The Book Depository or Waterstones.
Update: in a happy coincidence, the first printed copies of The Book arrived today at the W. W. Norton’s London office — here are a few shots of the finished book!