Book design trends: fresh covers and limited shelf life

How publishing companies are trying to attract new readers to new writers and young readers to old writers.
Written by Sun Kim, Contributor on

In an age of electronic readers and vanishing libraries, publishing companies are trying to attract new readers to new writers and to attract young readers to old writers.

While women well past their teens are devouring young adult novel series like Twilight and The Hunger Games, publishers are trying to steer the younger generation towards classic romance novels. To capture the Twilight set, publishing houses like Harper Collins and Sterling Publishing are repackaging the classic books to appeal to younger readers.

For its Splinter imprint, Sterling hired fashion illustrator Sarah Singh to put a fresh spin on Jane Austen's novels. Singh's covers feature bright, stylized sketches in watercolor.

Harper Collins went the more blatant route by placing not only a rose on their redesigned cover of Wuthering Heights, but also an endorsement of sorts from Twilight characters Bella and Edward. The move seems to be working since the New York Times reports that the Twilight-esque edition of Wuthering Heights has sold 125,000 copies and the book returned back to best-seller lists.

Ebooks and digital media are making paper books disappear from the shelves around the world. In Argentina, independent publishing house Eterna Cadencia are using the vanishing book concept to promote new writers and push people to read. The publishers, with advertising agency DraftFCB, printed a book in ink that disappears within four months after being exposed to the elements. The book, The Future is Ours, is part of a campaign to encourage people to read newer works as they come out. Eterna Cadencia hope to promote other titles that "don’t deserve to wait on a shelf" with the disappearing act.

Via: NYT, Design Taxi

Images: Sarah Singh for Splinter, Harper Collins

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com

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