Judging a Book
Linda and I were at Publisher’s Summit last week in Chicago presented by the fine folks at Independent Publishers Group, the distributor of Thrums Books. It was a great time to visit with the wonderful people who help deliver our books into the world and to meet up with other publishers who care as much about their books as we do about ours.
Along with all of those great discussions, we attended several seminars that offered up some pretty handy information. “Judging a Book by Its Cover” (and boy, did we!) was one session I really enjoyed.
After evaluating several groupings of covers, some that made the grade and some that didn’t, I put Thrums Books covers to the test, well sort of. It’s hard to be objective, of course, but in my estimation, we’ve made the grade and beyond. Our covers aren’t just a title and an image, they’re invitations into another world, another culture, shown through the stories of people and cloth and time.
By Its Cover
Look at the noble face of Albertina Mamani on the cover of Faces of Tradition: Weaving Elders of Peru. Meeting her eyes, her beautiful face, I want to know her, to hear her story. I want to know what it’s like where she lives, and if everyone there wears those hats!
I ask the same questions about Ana Ceto when I look at the cover of Traditional Weavers of Guatemala: Their Stories, Their Lives. I have an immediate connection with her, but I want to know more. I want to know about the family in the background, what she’s making on her loom, and I want to run my fingers across the huipil she’s wearing to feel that texture.
And because I’m a tactile textile person, the fabric we show on all our covers always makes me want to touch them. Maya Threads: A Woven History of Chiapas is a great example of this. Do those embroidered flowers from Zinacantán in Chiapas, Mexico, feel as velvety as they appear?
It’s a group effort, these beautiful covers. Designer Michael Signorella has taken the brilliant photography of Joe Coca and Janet Schwartz and transformed it into works of art. Of course, that book wizard Linda Ligon might have a bit to say on the matter of these covers, too! And I’m not alone in my praise: All three of these books are winners of Benjamin Franklin Awards for excellence in editorial content, photography, and design. So go ahead, judge our books by their covers—they’re up to the challenge.