I’ve mentioned before that I collect Heritage Press/Limited Edition Club books.  One reason is the care they put into their craft – the books are simply breathtaking to look at.  The amount of delicate, painstaking work that turned out so beautifully laid onto the boards…it’s a lost art in the modern era of book publishing.  Occasionally I’ll see a book that makes some sort of retro slide – Wicked Plants, for example, has some excellent vine art entangling the front and back that was printed directly onto the cover. 

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Isn’t that unique and eye-catching?  You don’t see such a pretty binding very often.  Dustjackets tend to hide hardcover bindings, and all too rarely is any sort of artistic treasure lurking underneath them.  It’s usually some stoic gray/brown/white/black combination of yawn-inducing disappointment.  However, that’s not to say that all publishers and all books printed recently are all alike.  One fantastic example of a creative combination of a dustjacket and printed binding was The Angel’s Game.

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The top layer of books is only a hint of what the remainder of the binding hides – an entire shelf of antiquarian books to marvel over.  It’s a fantastic binding that is a perfect match with the book’s content.

What really blows me away, though, is some of the incredible vintage books we have on hand.  Some of these books have such intricate, exquisite detailing put into their covers that it’s hard to fathom the amount of work and care that went into each individual book!  I’ll put up some of these tomorrow.  But I applaud Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill and Doubleday for doing something different from the norm for the two books I highlighted above.  It’s a trend I hope takes a little more root in the industry.