This has ever been a bit of a bee in my bonnet. Publishers Weekly now picks up the running. I could never get my mind around the lack of care given by many cover designers when it came to the spine. 95% of the time a book is going to be seen spine out on a shelf either in your home, or in a bookstore (if it’s lucky enough to be there in the first place) yet as far as design goes the spine just seems in too many cases to be a barren divider between the front and the back. This piece from explores the same terrain with some good examples.

My bonnet starts buzzing even louder when it comes to the design (if that’s what it is) of the stamping die. All to often — nowadays almost always — this is just left as a duplicate of the author’s name and the title from the spine of the jacket. Now if I’m saying that the jacket was boring, what about the case cover: don’t most hardbacks end up jacket-less showing the spine stamping as the only external ID after they’ve been around for some years?

I rather like this book, Mort(e) by Robert Repino. No jacket; a 3-piece binding with dramatic 2-color stamping on the cloth spine, and nice matte laminated sides. Soho did a good job on this one.