Thursday, 23 July 2015

I'm a sucker for pretty endpapers...

I am a big fan of hardcovers. I never used to buy them; they can be pretty pricey after all, and not that many YA novels are actually published in hardback over here that often. But that seems to be changing. More and more publishers are taking the risk with hardcovers and even though I have a rule about buying hardcovers (the book has to be at least 300 pages long), it makes me very happy.

Why? Endpapers. I have a thing for books as objects. You may have seen my post about my Penguin Clothbound Classics editions or have heard me mention my need to collect the Penguin English Library and Penguin Modern Classics paperbacks, or even just seen me whinge on Twitter about a cover change mid-series. And even though you can’t see endpapers until you open the book, I know they’re there and that makes all the difference to me.

Sadly, when it comes to beautiful endpapers, the US are way ahead of us there. They are a luxury and must add quite a bit to the production costs of a book, but I really do think they’re worth it. They make a book into a desirable, collectible object. They’re definitely something aimed at booklovers or as a gift book; a sporadic reader will go straight to the chart paperback, I’m sure, but us booklovers are so worth the investment. We probably spend hundreds and hundreds of pounds on books each year.

I’m also a fan of how something like endpapers can brand a series or an author or even a publisher or a bookshop. When you see a large, grey cover with a white title and gorgeous vintage patterned endpapers you instantly know it’s a Persephone Books edition. Persephone Books are an indie bookshop and publisher in London that focus on rereleasing forgotten women’s classics from the 19th Century. Sadly, I haven’t got my hands on any yet but I have a visit planned! I also know that I won’t be able to just get one…

I also love it when series’ have cohesive looks and endpapers. Becca Fitzpatrick’s UK hardcover editions of the Hush, Hush series have the same black and white feather design in all four novels and Charlie Higson's The Enemy series has patterned skulls; Darren Shan’s Zom-B saga have gorgeous comic strip endpapers throughout the series and the US hardbacks of the Blood of Eden trilogy has the same patterned endpapers but with a different colour in each book. It just makes me so happy.

Do you have particularly strong feelings about endpapers? What makes you invest in a physical copy of a book?


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