Before I dive into the complex world of book covers, I should confess that my rudimentary and frankly half-hearted initial search quickly turned into a passionate and intense hunt for cultural trends, typography, and design. It turns out that book covers are fascinating and not altogether unlike clothing fashion. Just as I wear styles first adopted by fashion icons who convince me of their chic-cool factor (I’m looking at you, overalls and turtlenecks), there are design bandwagoners for book covers as well.
I had the privilege of sitting down with John Henley, a well-known appraiser of rare books in the Pacific Northwest. He has also been an adjunct of the PSU Book Publishing Program since its inception, teaching the survey course titled The Popular Book in the United States. We talked about his job as appraiser, his Oolie aspirations, and how his love of books—inspired early on by his mother—led him to a career of buying and selling them for Powell’s and The Great Northwest Bookstore.
Writers will often see a trend they like and try to emulate it, sure that if they capitalize on something that is currently popular or has been recently well-received, a publisher is sure to pick it up. This isn’t always the case.
Young adult publishers certainly do like to put disembodied body parts on their covers, don’t they? They also like that hazy Instagram look and showing the protagonist with his or her back to the reader. And they really like a hand-drawn font. It’s getting to the point where it’s almost as hard to find a […]
Recently in my leisure reading, I noticed I had coincidentally chosen a handful of books that all had to do with mermaids or the circus. These weren’t back-to-back reads; rather they were each chosen independently over the course of a year or so, but there they were: mermaids, a randomly specific topic that had surfaced […]
Greetings, all! As many of you probably know, Ooligan Press recently attended the Association of Writers and Writing Programs Annual Conference & Bookfair in Seattle, and there’s a lot to report. It was a great experience for everyone involved: Ooligan Press, Portland State’s book publishing program, and all of us hooligans who trekked up north […]