La vie en bleu

Publication schedule for La Vie en Bleu: France and the French Since 1900:

7 July 2005: UK hardback [Penguin UK imprint Allen Lane]
2 February 2006: US hardback [Overlook Press]
29 June 2006:UK trade paperback [Penguin History]
26 February 2007: US trade paperback [Overlook Press]

The covers appear in the order given above. Click on a cover for the full size image.

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The cover for the UK trade paperback designed by David Mackintosh (see also: 1 2) is certainly the most attractive of the lot, although the original UK hardback isn’t bad either. But what is up with the design on the American editions? It’s like they took the original UK hardback design and did everything they could to make it as awful as possible without abandoning the original concept. Between the hardback and the paperback they tweaked the font and text layout, but it didn’t help anything.

This uglification of book covers for which there already exist attractive British designs is a common practice among American publishers, and I can’t understand why they do it. It’s especially frustrating when they buy the Canadian rights and force their terrible designs down our throats (mercifully, this was not the case in this instance as Penguin thought enough of us to keep the Canadian rights for this book and spare us the offense).

In a future post I’ll compare the Penguin UK covers for Nick Hornby‘s work with those of Penguin USA’s Riverhead Books imprint (they can’t even keep the same design within the same company!) and you’ll get the picture.

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~ by Thomas on 2007-Jun-16.

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