A new favourite Pride and Prejudice cover! Splinter, from Sterling Publishing

I can hardly contain my excitement (no seriously – I can’t) at this new copy I just picked up about two hours ago. I was in Newtown with my folks shopping for vegan food (I’m holidaying down to Ulladulla for the next few days and I’m not sure what their situation is with Notzarella and Cheezly, and I have a huge pizza craving) when I found this beauty. From ‘Better Read than Dead‘ (but also seen in Art on King’s bookshop ‘Modern Times’) on Newtown’s King Street, and at the brilliant price of (AU)$9.99 I was absolutely chuffed with this purchase. It’s whimsical, elegant and abstract enough that it doesn’t alter how you view the novel. It shall be coming with me to the beach tomorrow!

From Sterling Publishing‘s Splinter imprint (New York) I was surprised to see it as I had only just been talking about the company the other day (I work for Sterling Publishing Australia – which is something quite different indeed!). You probably know them best as non-fiction publishers, and owners of the imprint SparkNotes. As promised from now on – ISBN: 978-1-4027-8530-6 (paperback).

Isn’t it to-die-for? While you can see the front of the cover here, the spine is also a lovely pink colour, which is the type of pink that’s not too sugar-loaded and is almost red and peach in different lights, while the back continues in the same style with a man riding a horse (presumably Darcy!) and the quote ‘You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you…’ in a handwriting/calligraphy font. What’s also lovely is that the inside of the cover hasn’t been abandoned. Just as we love it when a coat, bag or shoes has a beautiful fabric inside, this book has the lovely subtle pink colour with a Darcy quote tiled on it. Just pure gorgeousness.

The illustrated covers are also available for Sense and Sensibility as well as Jane Eyre (which ranks second favourite cover-wise to P&P) and Wuthering Heights. Emma is also featured on the Splinter/Sterling Publishing webpage as coming THIS SEPTEMBER. It’s a little hard to see what it looks like (other than orangey-yellow and of the same watercolour style), but I’m definitely excited for that one too – especially as my second favourite Austen! We can also expect Dickens’ Great Expectations in September – which I know will make many people very happy, you can see the cover art on the site here.

It’s referred to as the ‘Classic Lines’ collection, with the fairly apt comment: “The Classic Lines Collection completes an outfit like a designer handbag. These literary must-haves are only available from the chic House of SPLINTER“. There are also eBooks available for the titles, however I recommend the paperback as the paper it is printed on has a soft luxurious consistency that makes the reading experience just that tiny bit better.

It has only been released this year, and from speaking with the Service Assistant at the Newtown store he told me that they had only had the books in for under a month – this makes sense as I am a pretty regular stalker of the Jane Austen shelves at these shops.

Cover Illustrator Sarah Singh, a fashion illustrator for many different publications including Vogue as well as designers Tiffancy and Givenchy, has comments within the book explaining that she also looked at the different film adaptations as well as considering the characters, and focused on how the clothes would have felt to wear and move in before putting her drawings into Photoshop. She had also visited an historical fashion exhibition in Sweden that helped inform her decision to use watercolour to design the four book covers. The idea of ‘couture fashion’ is definitely there throughout the whole book, from the font – Lapidary 333 Roman by Eric Gall 2000 – and, what it calls, ‘luxurious ‘Soft-Touch’ lamination finishes’ (which is the one thing I love most about this book – I believe it is the same feel as The Time Traveller’s Wife and the other books in Random House’s Vintage Loves Rainbow collection!). According to an interview Ms Singh did with Making the Grade Reviews she also watched Jane Campion’s The Piano (an amazing film) for research and did a hefty amount of Googling.

The way it describes the novel itself is also an area of interest for me, and looks at it in quite a young, modern way. ‘Romance, betrayal and miscommunication surround two sisters in Pride and Prejudice’ the inner flap reads. I think this introduces it almost like a movie, and the idea of a bit of Hollywood-glamour ties in with the presentation nicely, and probably helps attract the target demographic of younger females.

It’s 416 pages and the paper is that perfect thickness for both a gift book and for reading. One thing that bugged me, but was probably just a shop thing and not related to the book, is that there is a security tag sticker within the book that even now I’ve bought seems impossible to budge without ripping the page.

Food for thought – it’s interesting to see fashion design and book cover illustrating crossing paths so much, and to much success! Our other favourite cover – the black and white quirky beauty – was from Reuben Toledo (for Penguin’s Deluxe editions) who also illustrated for Vogue and The New York Times, as well as Harper’s Bazaar. I’m looking forward to seeing more of this sort of innovation in the future – books and fashion together cannot be a bad mix, surely?

Are you going to pick up a copy? Get in quick – there weren’t many on the shelves in Newtown!


Filed under A good find, Book Review

51 responses to “A new favourite Pride and Prejudice cover! Splinter, from Sterling Publishing

  1. Tatiana

    I love your description of the book cover and the analysis of the design! You’ve made me eager to get a copy for myself. Although you shouldn’t ‘judge a book by its cover’, who doesn’t? I love the research that went behind making them. Thanks for sharing!

    • JennieDuke

      I’m glad you liked it! I’ve sent out several friends to get themselves copies – I couldn’t believe the price to be honest. Books in Australia get so expensive, so it went down well to find something at that price that’s so pretty.

      Have you got any other book cover favourites? I’m a serial buyer of books just for the cover!

      • Tatiana

        Nice choice! I’m also into buying nicely covered books. I bought Lewis Carroll’s works in a super pretty bright pink and gold binding. I also love Modern Library’s Shakespeare books…The font is easy to read and the covers are simple and attractive. It encourages you to read tough texts like that!

      • JennieDuke

        Agreed – I think the font has A LOT to do with how you feel when reading a book, and how much effort it looks like went into it. I’m not the biggest Times New Roman fan only because it’s just so boringly familiar.

        I also love nicely bound books because it feels like I’m getting a bit of personal “me time” rather than just churning through it. It’s sort of like how weight hardbacks, while not practical, are nice for those coffee table books and the special display copies with all the pictures that you only break out on days you’re feeling awful. Good pick-me-ups!

        I love bright colours on the inside of the cover – I think it’s gorgeous, and makes you happy to have opened it!

      • Tatiana

        I’m so happy to have found someone who shares the same passion! Haha, I can relate to everything you’re saying. It’s nice how you’re working in publishing, too!

      • JennieDuke

        I’m glad you enjoy it! I think that there’s just so much to speak about with books, and it can be hard to find people nearby that know what you mean!
        I work in magazine publishing as a journalist – although a big part of my passion is fiction and novels… I have no idea where I will end up! From The Dream Beaver I’m thinking you either are or want to be in fashion? 🙂 An industry that is just as competitive, I’d imagine!

      • Tatiana

        I know what you mean! No one I know talks about books this way.

        I actually am obsessed with magazines! I love fashion, but I’m actually almost done with my degree in Nutrition and Dietetics…Then I’m going on to get a Master’s in Public Health. If feeding the world isn’t as rewarding as it sounds, then I’ll think of a career switch! Hahaha…I’m thinking of doing different things since I easily get dissatisfied and bored.

        It’s sad how pretty much every industry is now uber competitive. Everyone does everything.

      • JennieDuke

        I agree. I have a book club that meets infrequently (we all have very different hours and busy lives – in fact, it’s a wonder we all get on so well!) and they are the only other 4 people I know that really see books like this and/or have a desire to discuss them! Especially the older books that don’t seem to get so much of a cult following anymore.

        I’m obsessed with magazines too (thankfully!). Reading them is an amazing escape, although when you work in the industry it makes you question a lot of what you read far more (although, I read more of them now than I did before). Do you have any favourites? At the moment, I’m pretty much stuck on eco magazines and interior decorating. I’ve been known to feed my romantic side with some bridal mags too (those dresses! Wow!).

        Nutrition would be really interesting. Are there many different branches within that… I admit I don’t know too much about it (despite an active interest, and a current alternative/vegan diet). I tried to do the raw-food thing, but just found myself cold all-the-time!!

        It is sad, but I think competition can breed better work and innovation. At the same time, life would be better if it could be a little bit slower… I think Jane would agree with that!

      • Tatiana

        It’s nice that you have a book club going on! Not many people do that anymore…

        My favorite magazine is Glamour, and I also love InStyle. I haven’t gotten too into interior decorating yet, but I’m sure I’ll be picking some up soon.

        There are different branches in nutrition…There is nutrition as a science and dietetics as the application of that science where you can basically write diets and see clients/patients with or without special needs. You can also work in a community setting with a certain population that is in need of an intervention. For example, in this area, most women are become iron deficient. So you can go and assess the population and then develop an intervention including educating women and also fortifying staple foods with iron (as an example).

        I think the best sort of ‘diet’ to try out is eat everything you want but in moderation. Unless someone has a health problem, this is what we recommend (even for weight loss). It’s the best way to guarantee change that lasts a lifetime. Do what you do, but modify a few things here and there. Take the stairs, and then take an extra 20 minutes moving around/exercising. And eat the food you want to eat but if you make room for healthy things first, you won’t have enough room for 6 cupcakes – you’ll have just one!

        Yeah, that is true about competition…I get tired sometimes, though. It would be nice to just experience a different sort of lifestyle for just a little while to take a breather and find out what’s important to you rather than to everyone in your midst…

  2. Lora

    Is there any information in the book about the paper in these editions being acid free? I’ve bought so many paperbacks of the Austen and Bronte novels that yellowed and deteriorated within a few years. So now I’m looking for a set that will last. This cover is beautiful! I found out that the penguin deluxe editions are printed on acid free paper, so I was thinking of buying them for that reason, but I like the splinter covers better.

    • JennieDuke

      Hi Lora! Thanks for checking out my comments about the cover – it’s beautiful, and I think the set would be a great addition to any shelf. I’m working on figuring this out for you now – there’s no comment about whether or not there is acid in the paper within the book. It says that it is printed by Transcontinental Printing, Canada (now TC Transcontinental) so I’ve sent out some emails to ask, as well as to Sterling Publishing/Splinter. But my gut is that it isn’t acid free (as normally it says in the book)… on the other hand, s it is ‘enviro’ paper, this suggests that maybe it is acid-free (and a lot is these days) as the process is more ‘eco’ for acid-free.

      Also, I left mine in my car with the window slightly down and it was a rainy day. The humidity in the car made the cover (but not the pages) puff up a bit strangely. While, obviously, that is no way to treat books (but I find all my favourites get thoroughly messed up!), it makes me think that it’s not the hardiest of collections around.

      At $9.95 though it’s worth picking it up just because it looks great. I also recently picked up a pocket Pride and Prejudice copy (review pending!) that will most likely be the one I cart around everywhere, just because the size is so perfect for a handbag.

      Will keep you posted!

      Let me know if you buy a copy, I think they’re lovely.

    • JennieDuke

      Hi Lora,
      I’ve just received work back from Sterling Publishing who created this Classic Lines series. The pages are, indeed, acid-free! Enjoy them and read away 🙂

  3. Lora

    Hi Jennie,
    My recent reply didn’t post for some reason, so I hope this one sticks, but I wanted to say thanks so much for looking into the acid-free paper for me! That was so kind of you. And its great news that they are acid free! Finally, some paperbacks that will last. One strange thing though, here in the US the splinter/sterling classics have different covers. They are made the same way with the french flaps and all. They were just released within the past few months too, so they are not older editions. Weird hu? The copy of Jane Eyre weighs a ton and the print is very very light. So I’m hoping my local bookshop will eventually get the other version to compare.
    Thanks again! – Lora

    • JennieDuke

      Hi Lora,
      No problem. That’s so strange!
      What are the covers like? I will email the lady who I spoke to and see if she can shed some light on this – bizarre.
      I can’t understand why that would be different. Maybe take the ISBN in with you (from the post) and see if it’s a different one (ask the store clerk). Maybe they’ve done a couple of ranges.
      I’ll let you know if I heard back :).

  4. Lora

    Hi again, Hope you don’t mind one last question. I was wondering, is there some trick to contacting a publisher to get them to resond? I had actually contacted Sterling Publishing a month ago to ask if their paper was acid free but I never heard back, that’s why I asked here (and you were so helpful, thanks 🙂 ). I’ve contacted other publishers with the same question but I’ve only ever heard back from one (Penguin Publishing). I just contacted Vintage Books to ask about their paper, but I don’t have a lot of hope I’ll hear back. These publishers have got to stop making such pretty covers! I too can relate to owning an embarassing number of copies of one title 🙂

    • JennieDuke

      Hi Lora,
      Always happy to answer questions!

      Haha – this is a little trick to the journalism trade. I guess as I write from a blog it’s a little easier to get a response, but mainly – head for the PR/Media department every time. They are really quick off the mark to respond to these sorts of requests. Secondly, try contacting someone from within the specific imprint e.g. Splinter in this case. The more specific you are with the send-to the better (e.g. someone who works directly in that department who would know off-hand and can quickly send a line, trumps the CEO of the entire organisation etc). I also try to make sure I ‘cc the “general” contact email that is given (someone in the department wants to make sure they are doing their job and if you ‘cc the overarching media contact, as well as the PR person on that particular project, you’re bound to get a response!).

      Another tip is to be as specific with the request as possible. Try and say which book, the ISBN if possible, and get the point across in 1/2 lines. Also, let them know why you are asking (so I said, I write for X blog – link – love the books and had a commenter ask X).

      That should work!

      If there’s anyone you’d like me to help you out with to get some info, I’m more than happy to help. I love the Vintage Book collections too – I have many of them!

      With the larger publishing houses it’s more important to be specific, and to expect significant delays in their time to get back to you. I have a couple of contacts from reviewing advanced copies etc (e.g. Quirk Classics), so always happy to help out in that respect if you’re looking for a quick answer!

  5. Lora

    Oops! I meant “respond”…I really should use spell check.

  6. Lora

    Wow, thanks for all the great information, Jennie! Right now I’m waiting to hear back from Vintage Books about the paper they use for their classics, and from Everyman’s Library about something else. But if I don’t hear back, I’ll definitely try again using your tips. Since I have very limited shelf space, I’m trying to be really picky about which editions I buy now, especially when it comes to multiple copies of Austen and Bronte. So that’s why I’m looking for acid free paper…and particularly pretty covers of course 🙂 Thanks so, so much!

  7. Lora

    Hi Jennie, Just a note to let you know that I was in Barnes and Noble today and I saw the edition of Pride and Prejudice you are going to order from them, and it’s strange, the paper was just regular paper not the soft feeling kind. I know they had a copy about a month ago with that kind of paper. Perhaps they mixed up the covers on some copies from their two different releases and that’s what I saw. So I just wanted to let you know that in case it mattered to you, but the cover is beautiful!

    • JennieDuke

      That’s so bizarre! I think I might order it direct through them and request the specific paper? I hope that works. It doesn’t matter too much, but having that soft-feel makes it just a bit more luxurious to read :).

      Let me know if you notice anything else – I find the small details so important (the best finishes etc).

      Thanks for pointing this out!

  8. Lora Boyle

    I know what you mean about the small details. I hope I’m not misremembering about the paper I thought it had a while back….it’s possible I am misremembering as i have looked at so many editions of the classics recently while trying to figure out which I like best and which will last longest. I’ve gone through so many copies over the years – now I want a set that will last…of course they have to be pretty though 🙂 I think it’s a good idea to check with them before you order just to be sure what it should be like, since it’s really kind of strange anyway that they have two recent releases with different covers, and that only one release shows up on their website. I don’t know why the paper would be different either since they used the same soft sturdy stuff for the cover. But maybe they used better paper in the one set since the covers were done by an artist. So confusing!

  9. Lora Boyle

    Hi again Jennie, I was just at Barnes and Noble and was able to look at copies of Splinter’s Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights, and Sense and Sensibility with the photo covers (they still haven’t gotten in the ones with the Sarah Singh covers and they were out of Pride and Prejudice), and the paper in them seems to be just regular paper too. So I guess I was mistaken about that…sorry about the confusion. But the good thing is that they say Alk. paper on the copyright page, so I figure they’re acid free.

    Another thing I happened to notice on the copyright page of Sense and Sensibility is that it says the text is complete and unedited. I was glad to see that because, just before I was about to order some of them, I started to wonder if any of the language in their classics had been simplified at all, since Splinter is their Teen imprint. Wuthering heights only says that the text is complete, but it doesn’t say unedited (I’m not really sure what to make of that).

    A few days ago I actually tried contacting them to ask if the texts of all of their Austen and Bronte’s are complete and unedited, but of course they haven’t responded. I guess, like you said, having a book blog really does help with getting them to answer! Does the copyright page of the Splinter Pride and Prejudice you have say anything about the text?

    • JennieDuke

      Hi Lora,
      Sorry this has taken me a while to get back to you – it has been crazy at work!
      The Pride and Prejudice Splinter copy says ‘complete and unedited’ so we’re safe here!
      I get quite irritated when the text gets “updated” as well, or when they put in ridiculous footnotes e.g. ‘a barouche is a four-wheeled carriage etc etc’. Real fans get it, those that don’t should either 1) get a “help” book for the classic or 2) google it! I find that classics are riddled with these sorts of footnotes, and if it’s not made for education purposes then it’s just plain distracting!
      For this reason, I think the Kindle is also a great option!

      Have you seen any other good covers lately?
      I hope you’ve been well 🙂

  10. Lora Boyle

    Hi Jennie,
    I’m so glad that the Splinter copy is complete and unedited! I think it’s time I ordered them now, and I can’t wait until they release Emma. I wish they’d do all six of Austen’s novels, but from the info I found it looks like they are only releasing the three.

    As far as pretty covers, I have fallen in love with the Penguin Threads cover for Emma! At first when I saw just the front cover picture I wasn’t that impressed, but then I found this website which explains about the project http://blog.jilliantamaki.com/2011/03/penguin-threads-deluxe-classics/ . And further down the page you can see the whole front and back including the flaps. Apparently the covers are textured too, and the reverse side shows the back of the needlework. I think I may order it even though I won’t really need another copy of Emma once the Splinter edition comes out. But it’s so pretty! I like the cover for The Secret Garden too, but I’ve never read it. That pretty cover might tempt me to though 🙂

    I’m also really loving the Vintage Uk covers, especially their Austen’s, Bronte’s and North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell. It’s hard to find a nice looking copy of North and South. Their Bronte covers really fit the mood of the stories, but my favorite is the one for Austen’s Persuasion. It’s just really sweet the way they have Anne looking at the ship in a bottle.

    I’m not sure if I will order any of their books though, even though I’d love to. As you can tell from my other posts I’m on a quest to find copies that won’t yellow over time. The reason is, I have recently started having allergies to some books when they yellow too much and develop that old paper smell. I’ve had to give away some of my classics that are only a few years old for that reason. I contacted Vintage asking about the paper in their Austen, Bronte and Gaskell novels, but I only received a general vague answer that many of their classics are acid free but not all of them. I couldn’t get a specific answer about those author’s titles, so I may have to give up on them.

    If I discover any more pretty covers, I’ll be sure to post them!

  11. Anna

    Hi Jennie,
    You’re absolutely right, developing an allergy to some books has become the bane of my life! I’m hoping I’ll become less sensitive again over time, as can sometimes happen with allergies. From what I’ve heard I think you’re right that it’s a chemical reaction in the paper and, for me, it depends on how yellow it gets and if it develops that old paper smell. Some books only yellow a bit and I seem to do ok with them, luckily.

    That is a beautiful edition of North and South! I hadn’t seen the Penguin Reds series before, but their covers are lovely. I hope that someday they decide to switch to acid free paper. I have seen many comments around the web about people contacting Penguin to request that very thing. They really have a great selection, pretty covers, and most importantly from what I’ve read their texts stick as closely as possible to the original. I wouldn’t mind paying extra for their books if they switched to better paper. As Splinter has shown, they could produce a nice looking book on acid free paper and still have it be affordable.

    Here is the link to the Vintage edition of Persuasion I mentioned http://www.vintage-books.co.uk/books/0099511177/jane-austen/persuasion/ At first I wasn’t crazy about their Austen covers, but now I think they’re kind of sweet. This is their Jane Eyre http://www.vintage-books.co.uk/books/0099511126/charlotte-bronte/jane-eyre/ And their North and South http://www.vintage-books.co.uk/books/0099511487/elizabeth-gaskell/north-and-south/ It doesn’t look as pretty on their website as it does in better pictures I’ve seen of it elsewhere. I’d really hate to bother you though with contacting them. You’ve been such a great help to me already, I feel bad bothering you again. Up until six months ago I actually had three large bookstores and one very small one all in my area where I could see almost any edition of any book and get answers to almost any book question I had. But the three large stores went out of business suddenly and there is only the tiny store left. I still can’t believe it!

    On a pretty cover note, have you seen the White’s Fine editions of Pride and Prejudice and Wuthering Heights? I’m not sure how I feel about their other covers, but those two are at the bottom of this page http://curledupwithabook.wordpress.com/2009/02/25/white-books-fine-editions/

    Oh and have you seen the Penguin Threads Little Women? If not, check out the two other views right under the cover picture. Such detail! http://www.amazon.com/Little-Women-Classics-Edition-Penguin/dp/0143106651/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1337706529&sr=8-2

    Goodness, this post has gotten long! Sorry about that 🙂

    • JennieDuke

      Hi Lora,
      No problem. They are definitely the same Vintage Classics I know! I’ll get on to Vintage and see if I can get a comment back from them – it’s no hassle at all (I quite enjoy sticking my nose into publishing houses business to tell the truth!). They also do a great Vintage Film collected (I have The French Lieutenant’s Woman and it has black edged pages etc and is adorable).

      We had a similar situation here. In Rouse Hill there is only a small Dymocks left since Borders went out of business (a sad day, but we saw it coming!). I think book stores desperately need to link up with their online counterparts (something like, come into the store and look at a paper copy but be able to buy it on an eReader in-store or something) and need to offer an experience now more than ever. Borders was doing well with a coffee place, but it didn’t blend into, or encourage, book buying as it should have. PLUS books in Australia is notoriously expensive (as are magazines, I’ll add) and there are cheaper places you can go.

      I put White’s Fine edition into my top ten – I love it! Unfortunately I haven’t seen it in the ‘flesh’ (paper?) though so I hope it’s as gorgeous in real life as the picture seems on the screen! And that Little Women cover is adorable!!

      I love the harback patterned editions: http://www.modcloth.com/shop/books/pride-and-prejudice but, being Penguin, probably not acid free.

      Another one I adore is Kate Spade’s handbag/clutch made from a book… https://www.google.com.au/search?q=kate%20spade%20pride%20and%20prejudice&oe=utf-8&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a&um=1&ie=UTF-8&hl=en&tbm=isch&source=og&sa=N&tab=wi&ei=_uy9T_irJI-kiAe509DsDw&biw=1138&bih=446&sei=Au29T-qbOKfomAWVlrgw except I can’t figure out if it’s actually a cover that’s in print or just one she designed for the clutch (I think the latter) but how adorable!

      Other covers worth noting: http://www.englishmuse.com/2011/08/audrey-niffeneggers-take-on-jane-austen.html the Sense and Sensibility one is <3. I'm not sure if these are actually printed or not, or were someone's own project, but I still think they're wonderfully vintage/old school and, while not really "Austen", I still like them: http://www.behance.net/gallery/Jane-Austen-Book-Cover-Design/548862

      Ahh books!

      I'm thinking I might research a bit into that paper allergy. I have your email from the back end of the blog – mind if I shoot you an email with some questions in it? It has my journalism radar perked up!


    • JennieDuke

      Also! I believe that Vintage Classics are a part of Random House publishing, in which case:

      [From their website]
      Does Random House use acid free paper?
      Yes, we do. Most of our publications contain acid free paper. Our adult hardcover uncoated paper is 95% or more acid free. Our photo and coffee table books are 50% or more acid free paper. Random House Juvenile books are 50% or more acid free paper. Random House has a strong committment [sic] to safe and enviromentally [sic] sound paper use.


      But I’ve sent off some emails regardless so fingers crossed!

  12. Lora

    Oh, I just noticed that my post says Anna at the top this time, it’s still me though, Lora :). Lora is my middle name and Anna is a shortened version of my first name. I used to post using Anna, but not for a while. Not sure why it changed back this time.

  13. Lora

    Hi Jennie,
    Sure, send me an email. And here’s a link where someone else was asking about books printed on acid-free paper because of allergy http://askville.amazon.com/find-books-printed-acid-free-paper/AnswerViewer.do?requestId=73854316. It sounds like she has a much worse time than I do, I feel bad for her. I can still read some of my older, slightly yellowed books without a problem, but some I had to give away. I’m not really sure what makes the difference. Someone suggested Dover books, but I checked with them and their classics aren’t acid free. They said that the paper will yellow but it won’t breakdown like some paper will. I don’t know if that would make a difference for allergies.

    I love the look of the Penguin patterned clothbounds too. I checked with them and they said that they are acid free…I was surprised! But I ordered two of them and sent them right back because some of the ink from one cover rubbed off on the other cover in shipping. Then I read some complaints about the design wearing off with overuse. Since I plan on reading the classics over and over I decided they weren’t for me.

    That Pride and Prejudice clutch is beautiful! I’ve seen some made out of the Penguin clothbounds too…I hope they seal the cover with something though so it doesn’t come off. I’ve seen pictures of some White’s fine editions being made into journals. I don’t think I could take those apart though, they look too special. That Sense and Sensibility cover by Audrey Niffenegger is really sweet! I’ve heard that the penguin deluxe paperbacks are acid free, so I guess that one is.

    I’ve just contacted Oxford University Press about their paperback classics because I happened by a few of them that said acid-free on their copyright pages! It’s strange though that some of them, like The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, Agnes Grey, Villette, and Cranford, all say acid-free, but Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights, and all their Austen novels don’t. And they are all their newer editions printed between 2008 and 2011. So I wrote to ask if the ones that don’t say it really aren’t acid free. They did get back to me after a couple of weeks when I asked them something else, so hopefully they will again. Their classics have a lot of notes, which I don’t care for either, but I’d be willing to ignore them for quality paper.

    Even without allergies I think I would still be on this quality paper quest…especially now that many publishers are making such pretty books. Now if I buy something I love I want it to last.

    Lora 🙂

    • JennieDuke

      Hi Lora,
      You’ve touched on a point here that I’m constantly asking myself about – do I want pages and pages of notes and biographical details in my books? Especially when a lot of it tends to be incredibly basic (and almost patronising). Obviously, some of the books are for education purposes, so it’s understandable. And part of my love for Austen grew out of the notes in the front of a borrowed copy of Pride and Prejudice that told me she went to my school.
      However, when they are just “me and the book” copies, it can be ridiculous leafing through pages of explanations and irritating footnotes that interrupt the flow of the book. (Footnotes – thoughts?)
      It should really be standardised to say specifically what the content of the paper is – I honestly can’t believe that it isn’t! Maybe it is in some countries? I’m going to do some research and then shoot you that email. Need to have my grounding first! I might line up some interviews with Australian publishing companies etc.

      My most HATED book problem is faulty binding. Most publishers say that it isn’t common but that some ‘slip through’ quality control and they’ll replace them. But I’ve picked up many many books over the years where pages have become loose within weeks of owning them. I am a hard-wearing sort of person, but the pages should not be able to come out!!

      I really like the bag/book tradition but there are some awful ones around too. I haven’t really branched into buying any P&P jewelery/bags/etc but it’s one of my “to do” things this year. There are some gorgeous bits and pieces out there (some personal faves: http://www.etsy.com/listing/90612850/jane-austen-emma-prose-one-half-of-the?ref=sr_gallery_31&ga_search_query=jane+austen+necklace&ga_view_type=gallery&ga_ship_to=ZZ&ga_min=0&ga_max=0&ga_search_type=handmade and http://www.etsy.com/listing/80183722/pride-and-prejudice-vanity-necklace?ga_search_query=jane%2Bausten )

      Let me know if Oxford University Press get back to you. I’ve contacted Randomhouse about the Vintage UK paper. I have a feeling they are not acid free as my copies are looking decidedly yellow… but I can’t figure out if that’s just me looking for it to be!

      I’ll keep you posted! 🙂

  14. Lora

    Hi Jennie,
    Ugh, footnotes, I find them very distracting! I find notes distracting most of the time, although sometimes I could use an explanation or two. The Oxford World’s Classics aren’t too bad though. But, I kind of doubt that their books that aren’t marked acid-free are acid-free. I figured it was worth asking though. It’s just so strange that some of the Bronte’s works are and some appear not to be. Unless they just stopped marking them acid-free for some reason. A while back I asked them about their hardcover Anne of Green Gables (it wasn’t marked, but it looked like it was good quality paper) and they came back saying that it is in fact acid-free, as are all their hardcover children’s classics. You would think they’d want to advertise that in the books!

    I haven’t run into the faulty binding issue yet, but with the cost of paper (and everything really) going up, I guess most places are cutting corners on quality. It’s sad really, especially when even “cheap” paperbacks cost so much more than they used to, even just a few years ago.

    Those necklaces are beautiful! People really are getting creative with the classics. Up until now I’d only seen the bags and a few journals, but I really like the jewelry idea.

    I’ll let you know what I hear from Oxford University Press. It took them a couple of weeks the last time so it might be a little while. It would be a shame if Vintage doesn’t use acid-free paper when they seem to put a lot of effort into designing pretty covers. But I may end up buying a couple of their classics that don’t exist on acid-free paper anywhere else anyway. I’ll just cross my fingers that they won’t make me sneeze and cough in a few years. But might as well have a pretty cover to look at whilst sneezing and coughing right? 🙂


  15. Lora

    Hi Jennie,
    No word from Oxford University Press yet. But on another note I was wondering, do you own the Pride and Prejudice Reuben Toledo edition that you mentioned in your post? I was thinking about buying it, and maybe the Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights too, but I was wondering what they are like “in person”. I wasn’t crazy about his covers at first because I thought they were too modern and cartoony, but they have really grown on me (in pictures at least). I’m also considering the Sense and Sensibility with cover by Audrey Niffenegger that you linked to. Have you seen that one “in person”?

    Hope all is well with you!
    Lora 🙂

    • JennieDuke

      Hi Lora,
      How have you been? Any good reads lately?

      I certainly do own the Pride and Prej Reuben Toledo cover! I think it’s gorgeous – although in a ‘Tim Burton’ way, if that makes sense? I’m not a fan at all of the Wuthering Heights etc covers though… they are a bit too cartoony, I agree! The paper is lovely – it’s that uneven-edge paper that has a rustic feel to it :). Doesn’t suit everyone’s tastes though.

      The Audrey Niffenegger one is cute (Sense and Sensibility) but the Persuasion one is icky. They’re paper-y cover, not shiny, and probably won’t suit everyone’s tastes… they do have a very “homemade” feel about them, if that makes sense?

      I’ve come across the blue hardback Pride and Prejudice lately in bookstores (see: http://thebookslooth.blogspot.com.au/2012/04/bookstore-rampage.html) but can’t remember who it is by. I think the bright blue is kind of tacky, but I think it would make a nice shelf version – what are your thoughts?

      I really want a nice boxset of all the Austen’s but haven’t seen any great ones. I’ve got a couple of full compilations, but there aren’t that many that are very elegant or interesting. Seen any?

      I hope everything is going well for you!

  16. Lora

    Hi Jennie,

    Right now I’m reading The Ghost and Mrs. Muir and I’m loving it! I really love the classic film, and although the book is a bit different I think it’s just as good.

    I think I’ll add the Pride and Prejudice Toledo cover to my wish list, but not the Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights. I do like elements of those covers, mainly the backgrounds and the colors he used. I just wish he hadn’t made the figures cartoons. The stories are just too serious and dark for that. You are so right about the Persuasion cover being icky! It doesn’t fit the story at all! I found this picture which shows the back cover and the flaps too, which are actually kind of nice http://www.flickr.com/photos/paulbuckleydesign/5351919981/ I only wish the cover matched them. I know it’s supposed to be thorns wrapping around Anne, but to me it looks like she’s being attacked by a giant centipede, yuck!

    I have seen the blue bonded-leather covered Pride and Prejudice, but I haven’t decided whether I’ll buy it yet or not. I have the Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights from that line. They are put out by Barnes and Noble under Sterling Publishing I think. Here’s a link to some of their other covers http://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/leatherbound-classics?keyword=leatherbound+classics&store=allproducts I really love the two I have as the covers are appropriately dark and gothic, but I think they may have gone a little too bright with the Austen covers. I’ve only seen Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility so far. I’m pretty sure the page edges on the Pride and Prejudice are a bright green, and Sense and Sensibility has a green cover with yellow page edges. So the colors are a little tacky but the cover and spine design almost make up for it, and I think they would still look nice as shelf copies.

    Here’s the link to their Jane Austen compilation http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/barnes-noble-leatherbound-classics-jane-austen-jane-austen/1106658824?ean=9781435103191 I have seen the outside of it in the store and it’s really pretty, but it was sealed in plastic so I don’t know what the inside looks like.

    I too would love a box set of all of Jane Austen’s novels but I’m still searching for a nice one. If I come across any I’ll be sure to let you know!


  17. Lora

    Hi Jennie,

    I too was not happy that the pretty Barnes and Noble books were leather. I never buy anything leather knowingly. But unfortunately when I bought Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights about a year ago they weren’t advertised as leather like they are now, and I thought for sure they were imitation. They didn’t feel real at all and they were so inexpensive. I only recently found out they are bonded-leather which, from what I read, is imitation leather mixed with some (sometimes only a small amount) of real leather. I guess that’s why they felt fake. I was so unhappy when I found out, that I was going to give them away (it was much too late to return them or I would have, even though they’re really beautiful), but I ended up keeping them and comforting myself with the thought that I hadn’t meant to buy real leather, and hopefully, since they are only bonded-leather maybe they’re mostly fake and only a little real. I’ve been so tempted by the Pride and Prejudice (despite it’s bright cover and page edges) and the Austen compilation because they’re both so pretty, but I just can’t bring myself to buy them now that I know they contain at least some real leather. It’s a shame, because many of the books in that line are beautiful.

    Here’s a link to a new Pride and Prejudice that supposedly will be imitation leather http://www.amazon.com/Pride-Prejudice-Single-Title-Classics/dp/1607105543/ref=sr_1_5?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1339804641&sr=1-5&keywords=pride+and+prejudice I don’t know if that info about it being imitation is true though..I looked up that company a while back and I think they make real leather covers. And that’s quite a bright color they chose for the cover too!!

    I think the boxed set with the gold page edges is from Collectors Library. If so, they’re tiny! I saw some of the Collectors library set at my Library and the print was so small it gave me a headache. They are beautiful little books, but they would have been so much better (for me at least) if they were just slightly bigger.

    I would love to see your designs if you decide to do some! You are absolutely right that it’s time for a beautiful boxed set. I love the designs you linked to.


  18. Lora

    Hi Jennie,

    I just found this listing on Amazon for a new Penguin hardcover of Pride and Prejudice due out in November with cover art by Jessica Hische, the same artist who did the covers for the Barnes and Noble Leatherbounds. (sadly no cover pic yet though) http://www.amazon.com/Pride-Prejudice-Penguin-Drop-Caps/dp/0143123165/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1340686269&sr=1-1&keywords=Pride+and+Prejudice+drop+caps They also have a listing for Jane Eyre and My Antonia, and the series will be called Penguin Drop Caps. I did a little digging around the net and found a tiny bit of info about this new series here (it’s an 11 page pdf about all kinds of stuff. I think the drop caps info is on page 10) http://booksellers.penguin.com/static/pdf/paperback-dropins.pdf It will be 26 collectible hardcovers (lets cross our fingers they aren’t leather). I took a look at Jessica Hische’s website and it does mention a drop caps project but there’s no mention of the Penguin hardcovers yet. I really want to know more!

    As far as Oxford World’s Classics and acid-free paper…well, it’s interesting. They said that their paperbacks are all acid-free even if they don’t say they are. But here’s the interesting bit..they told me the name of the paper company they use and that their paper is PH neutral which Oxford has interpreted as acid-free. So I contacted that paper company and they said that it is PH neutral but that does not really mean acid-free and it will yellow and deteriorate over time because the lignin is still in it. I’m not really sure what to make of all that but Oxford World’s Classics do have a number of titles that aren’t in print anywhere else so I will still buy them and hope maybe they’ll age a little better than some other paperbacks. Oh and I found this listing for an Oxford Children’s Classics edition of P&P if you are ever in the market for a smaller format hardback (about 5×7 inches) http://www.amazon.com/Pride-Prejudice-Oxford-Childrens-Classics/dp/0192789864/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1340687686&sr=1-1&keywords=Pride+and+Prejudice+oxford+childrens The cover isn’t the best but they are sturdy little books. I have Anne of Green Gables from that series. The Children’s classics may actually be acid-free. They are printed in China and I have read that books printed in China now are often printed on better paper. Not sure why that is.

    I’ll post again if I see any more about the Penguin Drop Caps.

    Hope all went well with the exhibition!


  19. Lora

    Looks like Penguin has another classics series going too! http://www.penguinenglishlibrary.com/# They are using the Bickford-Smith designs from their hardcovers on these paperbacks.
    No P&P listed yet but there are some Austens with more to come according to Amazon. I just contacted them about their paper….fingers crossed!

  20. Hi Jennie!

    I loved this version of Splinter, bought Pride and Prejudice and Jane Eyre last week from one of my wanderings behind books in the bookstore. The covers are wonderful and like you said the paper is great and is even a sense of warmth and luxury, though most of the books that cast here in Brazil are in this style, it is very difficult to see a classic in English with a quialidade and as good a price as good (the English books here are a bit expensive, depending on the version purchased).
    I must confess that you just bought for the cover, since I do not read in English (something I want to change soon, I need an urgent course), but were so beautiful on the shelf. I think I’m in love with them, almost bought the four together, but I will wait to go shopping slowly.

    I apologize for my English, but I am writing with the help of Google Translator. I love your blog!

    William Souza

    • JennieDuke

      Hi William,
      I’m glad you like it! It’s fine to just buy for the cover (in my opinion!) but I definitely encourage you to learn English to read it – it’s fabulous! The cover is great, and will hopefully bring a whole new range of readers into the Austen world.
      How much do English books typically cost?
      No problem about your English, the translator has done well. I only hope this translates well back to you!
      Thanks for posting 🙂

      • Hi Jennie,
        Jane Austen is reralmente inspiring, and still need to see the version that the BBC made ​​for TV. I’m considering buying the DVD!
        About the price of books in English here in Brazil is kind of hard to explain, since this thing becomes a mess currency. But let me try to explain to you the price of a hardcover here is the same price as two or three hardcovers Americans, depends on the book. so my astonishment to see this version of Splinter, even as a luxury payperback. R$ 14.90 (real) here is very cheap, at least for me!

        See you soon!

  21. Lora

    Hi Jennie, thought you might be interested in this although it’s not P&P. But it’s someone who collects multiple editions of their favorite book (Jane Eyre). They’re up to 18!! http://justjillsblog.wordpress.com/2011/07/09/more-jane-eyre/ I would love to have enough shelf space to own 18 copies of Jane Eyre and P&P! Maybe someday 🙂


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