In 2001, David Mitchell published the Booker-shortlisted novel number9dream. Presented below are the British (left) and American (right) trade paper editions that are currently in print.


Although the American design is interesting and not without merit, I just love what Kai and Sunny have done with the British cover that they designed for Sceptre (a paperback imprint of Hodder Headline, now a division of Hachette Livre UK). Not only is it a beautifully simple design, but its matte finish upon which numerous glossy bits have been superimposed provides a rather pleasing tactile experience. This scan doesn’t quite do it justice; it’s really the sort of thing that can only be fully appreciated with the book in your hand.

As an aside, I’m going to go completely over the top here and take this opportunity to publicly thank McArthur & Company for making this and so many other British editions of British books (an idea so crazy it just might work!) available to punters in Canada who would otherwise be subjected to American editions or no edition whatsoever. Frightfully decent of you guys. Cheers!

Pictured below are three previous cover designs, including two British and one American. Curiously enough, number9dream has not, to the best of my knowledge, been translated into French, despite the Booker nomination and the fact that other David Mitchell novels written both before and after this one have been translated.


The British designs (left and centre) are by no means spectacular, but once again it has to be said that the design for the American edition (right) is nothing to write home about. What could they have possibly been thinking of? I’m just not feelin’ it (as the kids say) at all.


~ by Thomas on 2007-Jun-28.

One Response to “number9dream”

  1. […] Ken-Ichi posted some favorite passages. Karen Templer loves the book’s design. Thomas has more to say about the design of different editions. Toh Hsien Min interviewed Mitchell (Quarterly Literary […]

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