Thursday, 27 November 2008

My Eyes! My Eyes!

All of the endless discussion about ebooks has probably bored you as much as it has me. I love codici, and I spend enough time staring at a computer screen without doing it for my reading as well.

Another argument against ebooks is the horrific "cover" design that many of them seem to be blighted by. I know that the fact that an ebook is a non-physical object means that there's no need to concentrate on the packaging, but for fuck's sake, have you seen some of these things?

Some believe Ford Madox Ford's original title was 'The Saddest Story'. In fact, it was 'The Good, but Short and Fat Soldier'. And I love the way they couldn't even be bothered including the author's surname.

Hey, there's a room, there's a view. What more do you fucking well want?

Plot Summary: A wrongful trial; an escape to riches; vengeance; redemption; some wet leaves.

Possibly one of the ugliest 'covers' ever. You've got to love the font that makes it look like a cheap-arse DVD rather than an OVID.


Fortunately, volume two uses the same cover. And if there's one thing readers of ebooks really need, it's having big books broken up into parts. After all, those Kindles only hold 7 pages.

Not quite the vibe Gorky was going for, I suspect. But cheap-arse clipart is never inappropriate!



Derek said...

Hey, there's a room, there's a view


These are not from real publishers. They're from kids who copy and paste public domain stuff and upload it to Kindle.

Anonymous said...

Brilliant! This post has really cheered me up on a dark November morning.

I love the way the best critical approbation that Ignacio Hills Press could find for The Count of Monte Cristo was "Beautifully formatted classics".

And the way MobileReference's name on Metamorphoses is almost as big as the title: a little like those companies who present gigantic cheques on TV charity appeals with their name in huge letters across the top. "Pay Children in Need the sum of sixty pounds only, signed BARCLAYS BANK INTERNATIONAL".

As for Wilkie Collins, fuck him - he only has himself to blame after stealing the title from a Tony Parsons classic.

Anonymous said...

Incidentally, eBooksLib, where most of these titles come from, doesn't seem to be kids uploading stuff to Kindle. Their website - as ugly as their covers - suggests they run a full business charging good money for this crap.

Anonymous said...

Favourite post ever. As wonderful and demoralising as looking at amazing covers is, every now and again it's nice to see some stuff that makes you think, "Damn, at least my covers aren't that bad!".

JRSM said...

Thanks, all
Derek--I did wonder about them being non-professional, and while they certainly don't seem that great, they do seem to be genuine businesses, as John says (though that's not to say the grunt work isn't done by kids, for all I know). And as John says, the fact they charge for these ebooks when the stuff is free on project Gutenberg anyway seems bizarre (I guess you're paying for that quality design work).

And I also love the way that "Beautifully formatted classics" isn't even attributed to anyone. If you were going to make up your own quote, you think you'd come up with something more striking.

Craftini, it was indeed a pleasure being savage after praising/interviewing all these talented people. Haven't been anywhere near CAUSTIC enough for a while!

Ian Koviak said...

I think it's very professional. An award is due. Ebook cover awards.

JRSM said...

We could call them the 'Ford Madoxes', and they could be in the shape of a chocolate soldier left out in the sun.

Anonymous said...

Sweet Jesus - talk about don't judge a book by its cover or actually do judge a book by its cover.

These are just unforgivable. It's like spending hours and hours building your house only to get local primary school children to decorate.

I offer good rates on cover design by way :)

JRSM said...

At least the primary school kids would spend more than 20 seconds on their work!

Anonymous said...

Ok, not that I don't love this post. I do. And not that I'm not a little late to this party (was linked by your other post about Great Classics Series which I searched for). But some tiny little defenses?

At least the Room with a View cover depicts Florence, which is actually the setting for said Room. So there's that.

As for the Ovid, I do not defend the font or many other aspects of it. But the portrait is the depiction of Ovid in the 1493 Nuremberg Chronicle, one of the greatest illustrated works ever printed. So...respect for that.

Anyhow. Carry on.

JRSM said...

to my embarrassment, i own the nuremberg chronicle (the taschen version, not the original, sadly), and didn't recognise that as the source for the ovid image. thank you!

Sheila Singhal said...

Fabulous posts on bad book covers! "What?" is a very appropriate response to both the ebooks and the gloriously inappropriate Tutis POD offerings. I've send many friends to your links and the ones by Brian Busby over the past couple of days. We've all been cracking up and sharing wildly on Facebook.


JRSM said...

Thank you, Sheila: POD covers are the gift that keeps on giving.