Tuesday, 1 September 2009

Georgette Heyer, Sourcebooks and the art of cover design

As a long time fan of Georgette Heyer, and a collector of various editions of her books, it was great to see that US publishers Sourcebooks Casablanca are issuing reprints of GH's titles in paperback (see above). The UK Arrow reprints have been around for some time now and, sad person that I am, I've bought most of them even though I can't bring myself to throw out my battered, falling-to-bits Pan paperbacks and hardback versions! 95p for a paperback and 3s and 6d for a hardback - ah, those were the days!

The Arrow and Sourcebooks covers might lack the stylised excellence of the original Barbosa designs (given the thumbs up by GH herself), but they have a charm of their own and most of the images seem well matched to the novels. I particularly like the reproduction of a section of the cover image on the book spine - lovely to look at when they are sitting in a row on my bookshelf ;0) This great post by Sarah at Smart Bitches includes an interview with Dawn Pope, assistant design manager at Sourcebooks, who describes in a Q&A session with Sarah the process of choosing a US cover and how they used the Arrow reprints as inspiration.

You know, there's a whole social history encapsulated in book covers; the way they reflect the prevailing fashions of the publication era, and the market the publishers were aiming at - as these versions of Sylvester testify.

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