The following is a guest post by Rights & International Sales Associate Lynsey Major on the beauty of book covers in translation.
My friend emailed me an article from the Los Angeles Times about a week ago that showed one further instance of the quick ascent of e-books and their influence on more than whether we shop online or in the neighborhood. It turns out IKEA has created a bookshelf that is designed to hold knickknacks not reading material. While the article has been updated with a P.S. that announces IKEA still loves books and will make shelves to hold them, the general trend away from physical copies makes one wonder if this is the slow phase out that launched cassette tapes and beepers into oblivion.
I should confess that I have a Kindle, and I love it. Lug a hardcopy of Jonathan Franzen’s Freedom on the subway during rush hour–no thank you. I don’t have that kind of upper body strength. But I also buy plenty of paperbacks and hardbacks. Why? Usually because the cover or some design element speaks to me. The proverbial “they” say not to judge a book by its cover. But I do. And I find lots of gems this way.
Currently I’m excited about the design of How to Keep Your Volkswagen Alive by Christopher Boucher, which tells a narrative through the form of a manual. And I’ve been eager to get Starting from Happy by Patricia Marx which includes the author’s doodles embedded in the text. I have a background in art so maybe I am overly influenced by the jacket. But I don’t think so. We all need a little bit of color and thoughtful design. With that said, I would like to pay tribute to the fine publishers who create brilliant covers for the translated editions of AMACOM’s titles.
I chose covers that I thought were fun, expressive of the content, and different than the original AMACOM jacket. First I would like to present the complex Chinese edition of Richard S. Gallagher’s What to Say to a Porcupine published by Yuan-Liou Publishing, Co. Ltd.
Similar to the previous example, I really like how much fun the designers at Commonwealth Magazine Co., Ltd. have with Marilyn Suttle and Lori Jo Vest’s Who’s Your Gladys? The complex Chinese edition depicts a literally devilish customer. After looking at both these complex Chinese editions, it appears customers are something to be reckoned with in Taiwan.
And to show that it is not just Taiwan that makes creative and compelling designs. Here is the Polish edition of Kurt Mortensen’s Persuasion IQ published by Helion. I really like the pop art style and warm colors for its playful depiction of persuasion.
Finally, here is the Hungarian edition of Bruce L. Katcher’s 30 Reasons Employees Hate Their Managers by HVG Konyvek.
I would like to note that this is not meant to favor one cover over another or one country’s design sensibility. But in a department that is very data oriented with contract terms, royalty statements, and option lists, it is nice at the end of the day to receive something tangible for our efforts—something that is both an expression of the original AMACOM title and just a little something extra that is characteristic of its foreign publisher.
Lynsey Major is an associate in the Rights & International Sales Department at AMACOM, a division of the American Management Association. Visit our website for information on rights and permissions inquiries of AMACOM titles.