Frank Fiore – Novelist & Screenwriter

January 30, 2013

Books Are So Decorative!

Filed under: Frank Remarks — Frank Fiore @ 11:08 AM

Gloria Upson: Oh, my, what a stunning apartment.
Auntie Mame: Thank you.
Gloria Upson: Books are awfully decorative, don’t you think?

That was an exchange in the movie Auntie Mame between the dull snotty upper crust girl, Gloria Upson, and Auntie Mame concerning the collection of books in Mame’s apartment. It’s funny because it shows here lack of understanding about books.– if Gloria ever read one.

But now, big time publishers are serious about Gloria’s definition of books.

Are books decorations? Chapters Indigo asks that question.

The message of Random House’s latest lifesaver for the book industry is “Books are beautiful”: a sideways foray into interior design that gives readers classics in solid Pantone covers.There’s Margaret Atwood in purple, Michael Ondaatje in blue and Wayson Choy in orange. Thirty in all, the books are re-releases of old editions that retail at a slight premium above the more traditionally designed copies, available exclusively through Indigo Books and Music, which also owns Chapters.

The books are aimed at catching the eye of design-savvy customers, according to Indigo’s vice-president of trade books, but are raising the eyebrows of interior and graphic designers alike.

It seems that the yuppie is not dead.

 “(These are targeted to) booklovers seeking unique editions, young design-conscious customers who are looking to start their library,” said Indigo’s Bahram Olfati in an email.

Atwood’s Alias Grace has a sticker price of $16.95 in purple but just $11.99 in the original paperback format, though Indigo stores currently have a deal — two for $25 — that brings the prices closer together if you’re looking to stock your shelves with the minimalist paperbacks.

Atwood’s Alias Grace has a sticker price of $16.95 in purple but just $11.99 in the original paperback format, though Indigo stores currently have a deal — two for $25 — that brings the prices closer together if you’re looking to stock your shelves with the minimalist paperbacks.

Books as pieces of art?

 For Culver, who works at Kobo and consumes most of her books digitally, print books are pieces of art.

 “I only buy physical books for the object, not so much for the actual book. I’m less inclined to buy a new release than to read it in digital format,” she said. “There are books that I’ve read in digital and then bought in print because I like the cover.”

Gloria Upson lives!

 One Toronto interior decorator had a client who had just moved to Canada and needed books in a room.

 “In this case we had come across these vintage Penguin paperbacks and they always colour-code their books,” said Theresa Casey, owner of Casey Design, noting that she personally prefers an easier-to-navigate arrangement like alphabetical or by subject but, for some clients, colour-coding may work.

“With books and clients, I think it’s a great way to reflect your interests and who you are,” said Casey. “It really brings a lot of personality to the space, whether you’re colour-coding them because of the collection or because you like the way it looks.”

And I thought enhanced ebooks and Print-On-Demand in bookstores were the next big thing in books.

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