When I first started sharing some of my favourite Pride and Prejudice book covers, I thought I’d get to a list of 10, and leave it at that. However, after my Top Ten Pride and Prejudice Book Covers, I got to Top Ten Foreign Pride and Prejudice Book Covers and the Top Ten Borders covers (sadly the images are no longer available as, obviously, Borders has ceased to exist). And yet, I still come across a huge number of covers I love, and that I want to share with you – particularly as online portals continue to grow and our access to a number of editions, re-issues and brand swanking new copies grows with it.
Which ties into this constant conversation at my workplace, and with my friends – is print dead? Is there ever going to be a role for it again? I was discussing with my girlfriend my want for a Jane Austen-themed book shop in Australia, and how I wanted to start one. Perhaps in retirement (anything more typical?). I really believe that when it comes to books there’s still something romantic about the feel of the paper, the material of the cover (I have certain types ofpaper stock I can’t help but touch when I see them on a book) and, when secondhand, the discovery of someone else’s notations halfway through the story. In saying that, it’s the story that matters and no matter how pretty the binding, if the content is crap, we’ll never want it. For this reason, I’ve never been against eReaders (I have a Kindle… somewhere… and an iPad, which is now my constant companion for all things reading related), and I understand why they’re a practical consideration. But I do think the design of eBooks needs to be stepped up – just because you don’t see the ‘cover’ of the eBook as often, doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be gorgeous! I’m happy to say that in the list below, some of the versions are eReader covers – it’s good to see nice design in the digital format picking up a bit more.
But enough of my rambling… on with the list!
1) This one jumped out at me from the virtual bookshelf over at Booktopia. It’s actually an eReader cover, brought out in September, ISBN: 1230000186867. It’s available for a $4.45 instant download. I do wish it was around as a physical book, as it’s gorgeous with all its graphic novel, pop art connotations. From Sheba Blake Publishing, located in Brooklyn, New York and created by Rhonda Nelson, they really have some of the best eBook covers available for the classics. They also sell on Etsy, which is an exciting approach for any bookseller but particularly for eBook sellers.
2) This is yet another Penguin print beauty. ISBN: 9780141199078, it’s a true stunner (particularly when seen next to the other Austen beauties). Another Coralie Bickford-Smith designed beauty (whose geometrically-cloth bound patterned hardbacks we adored), these paperbacks came from an entire team of designers who were given the challenge to create 100 books in nine months. These come under the ‘Penguin English Library’ series. I have a couple of these back in Sydney, and they have that beautiful satin-feel cover. I’m also glad that they have some of my other non-Austen favourites in the series (Lady Audley’s Secret, The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, Tess of the D’Urbervilles, North and South, Frankenstein… I could go on).
The detailing on this image, with the swans and an unusual colour scheme for P&P, I really like. It’s the same continuous pattern we’re used to from Bickford-Smith that looks like it would make a good material design, but it manages to look kaleidoscopic rather than repetitive. Massive loves! These ones are usually quite cheap too – I’ve seen them around to $10 to $20 marks.
3) I absolute ADORE this cover below. It’s very different, and at ISBN: 9781926712581 the Coscom Blue Banner Classics edition is just adorable, I love everything about it – from the stripy socks to the slightly unsure way the feet are positioned. They actually have covers like this for their entire paperback range of Austens and I am seriously coveting them for my bookshelf.
From Coscom Entertainment, who market themselves as publishers of superhero and monster fiction (I seriously get this feel from the Pride and Prejudice cover – particularly the font), I think they’ve done a great job at staying true to their themes while bringing the feel to another genre.
4) This is a Kobo eBook (and also comes as a trade paperback) from Random House’s imprint ‘Modern Library’. This also appears to be part of the Paperback Classics, launched in 2000, under the imprint. It comes with Random House’s ‘reader’s guide’ inside. Unfortunately, there’s very little other information about where the cover came from (they have a number of other classic titles in the same style, including a number of Austens).
5) This paperback was published in 2009, ISBN: 9781936709052, and comes from Piccadilly Books, Ltd. It’s listed for $11.95 on their site, but there’s sadly very little detail about who designed the cover available.
It’s simple, and I can imagine taking this copy to the beach or to the park for some lazy reading.
6) This one I stumbled upon in Amazon’s Kindle store. It’s absolutely gorgeous, and stood out from all the other usual covers. Designed by Elizabeth Monahan, I’ve sent her an email asking if she’d be keen to do a Q&A with The Bennet Sisters – I’m hoping to bring you some of her thoughts.
It seems it was published last month (October 2013), and she self-published the edition as an eBook. I absolutely adore this, and don’t see how anyone cannot (hopefully I can show you some of her other illustrations soon). The image on Lizzy’s face is just perfect, I love the slight sense of sarcasm and humour she has, the gown, and the cameo-style.
7) Finally, there’s this one from Max Literary Classics S edited by Louis de Bernieres. Published by UK’s Little Books Ltd, ISBN: 9781904435730, it’s simple but has an effective modern look. I think this actually comes as a hardback. They’ve done a great job on a number of other classics as well, with this nice inverse silhouette look.
So that’s my latest in the world of Pride and Prejudice covers. Have you seen any great ones lately? Share your thoughts with me.