- Most bestselling authors are destined to go out of print. When was the last time you saw a novel by Naomi Jacob, Howard Spring, Frances Parkinson Keyes or Frank Yerby in a bookshop?
- Publishers between 1964 and 1979 were obsessed with sex
- Almost every book published by Rupert Hart-Davies is worthless
- A tatty, obscure 1970s horror title will usually be worth far more than a beautiful old Penguin paperback
- The period from 1954 to 1974 was a golden age for book design, but it also saw some incredibly awful, garish covers, like these reprints of popular classics:
Slightly less offensive, but once again with rubbish fonts and a girl who looks like Nellie Olsen, for those who remember 'The Little House on the Prairie'.
Cor! A saucy French novel. I'll 'ave some of that! But where's the sex? I'll flick through to the end of the chapter...no, nothing there...maybe the next chapter...no, still nothing.
Maupassant and Zola may have been 'racy' in the 1890s, but I suspect that many 1960 book buyers felt that the cover design promised more than it delivered.
But the deception wasn't limited to adults. I wonder how many children struggled to read the copy of 'Gulliver's Travels' that Auntie Doris had given them for Christmas?
"Heathcliffe, it's me, Cathy, I've come home". Perhaps I'm being geeky about fonts, but this one is only acceptable in the credit sequence of a David O. Selznick Hollywood film. Like the Gulliver, this is also a children's edition cover. Lucky kids.
Finally, here is the 31st book in the famous 'Bancroft Classics' series:
No, I haven't heard of them either, but the cover design is in a class of its own, with Jane Eyre depicted as a 10-year-old with encephalitis. The eyes follow you around the room.
If you're feeling corrupted by this horrible display, then I'd recommend visiting this wonderful collection of Penguin and Pelican covers. Here are two of my favourites:
Will book jackets go the way of album covers as the market share of ebooks continues to rise? I hope not.