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Book Design

Harvard Experts Confirm That Book Really Was Bound With Human Skin

harvardlibraryExperts at Harvard have confirmed that Houghton Library’s copy of Arsène Houssaye’s Des destinées de lame is bound in human skin. They are 99 percent sure that their tests are correct.

Here is more about the tests from the Harvard blog: “Microscopic samples were taken from various locations on the binding, and were analyzed by peptide mass fingerprinting, which identifies proteins to create a “peptide mass fingerprint” (PMF) allowing analysts to identify the source.”

The university also concluded that two other books which were suspected to be made of human skin were actually bound in sheepskin.

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Water is Life Designs Book That Can Filter Water

Nonprofit Water is Life has a new book available that not only educates readers on safe water drinking tips, but also acts as a tool to purify water and kill deadly waterborne diseases.

The Drinkable Book” is designed to educate people who are unaware of the risks of contaminated water and at the same time serve as a functional object that can help readers do something about it. The book uses technology invented by chemists at Carnegie Mellon University.

We’ve embedded a video with more details above.

Harvard Discovers Old Library Books Bound in Human Skin

harvardlibraryHarvard University has discovered three books in its collection are bound in human hide.

The details make it sound more like the elements of a novel than of real life. One book was found in the Langdell Law Library, another in the Countway Library of Medicine, and yet another in the Houghton Collection. One book deals with medieval law, another Roman poetry and the other French philosophy. The book Practicarum quaestionum circa leges regias… doesn’t jump out as bound in human flesh, as The Harvard Crimson reports. Check it out:

The book’s 794th and final page includes an inscription in purple cursive: ‘the bynding of this booke is all that remains of my dear friende Jonas Wright, who was flayed alive by the Wavuma on the Fourth Day of August, 1632. King Mbesa did give me the book, it being one of poore Jonas chiefe possessions, together with ample of his skin to bynd it. Requiescat in pace.’

(Via Reddit)

J.R.R Tolkien in Modern Advertising

oneringtoruleValerio Amaro, a student at Miami Ad School Berlin, has created a Tumblr blog that combines her two passions: advertising and The Lord of the Rings.

She has taken text from J.R.R. Tolkien novels and adapted them into ads for consumers products including cars, mouth wash and condoms. She explains her idea on the site, “I wanted to find a way to combine them, so i asked myself ‘What would happen if J.R.R Tolkien worked in advertising?’”

Follow this link to explore her creations.

Chang-rae Lee’s New Book To Have Limited Edition MakerBot 3D Printed Cover

makerbotAuthor Chang-rae Lee has a new novel set in a dystopian future America coming out next month, and to celebrate the release his publisher Riverhead Books has created an innovative limited edition case. On Such a Full Sea‘s slipcase will be printed on a MakerBot Replicator 2 Desktop 3D Printer.

This limited edition hardcover copy comes with the case, which was designed by Helen Yentus and MakerBot. It costs $150 and only 200 will be made.

“What I like about this project is that it re-introduces the idea of the book as an art object,” stated Lee.  ”Content is what’s most important, but this [3D edition] is a book with a physical presence, too. Of course I hope what’s inside is kinetic, but the physical thing isn’t normally meant to be. This edition feels as if it’s kinetic, that it has some real movement to it. It’s quite elegant as well.”

George R.R. Martin Reveals True Shape of the Iron Throne

George R.R. Martin revealed this week that HBO’s “Iron Throne”–the throne of melted swords that has become a trademark part of the show–is “not the Iron Throne I want my readers to see.”

Martin shared a painting of the Game of Thrones centerpiece by Marc Simonetti, you can visit his post to see that image.  Above, we’ve embedded another painting of The Iron Throne by Simonetti from deviantART. Check it out:

That’s the Iron Throne as painted by the amazing Marc Simonetti (and if you haven’t gotten his 2013 Ice & Fire calendar, better hurry, the year’s half over) for the upcoming concordance, THE WORLD OF ICE & FIRE. It’s a rough, not a final version, so what you see in the book will be more polished. But Marc has come closer here to capturing the Iron Throne as I picture it than any other artist to tackle it. From now on, THIS will be the reference I give to every other artist tackling a throne room scene. This Iron Throne is massive. Ugly. Assymetric. It’s a throne made by blacksmiths hammering together half-melted, broken, twisted swords, wrenched from the hands of dead men or yielded up by defeated foes… a symbol of conquest… it has the steps I describe, and the height. From on top, the king dominates the throne room. And there are thousands of swords in it, not just a few.

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Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire Gets New Cover at ALA

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire got a new cover at the annual American Library Association convention. What do you think?

Author and illustrator Kazu Kibuishi created the cover for the fourth in a series of trade paperback editions from Scholastic. Here’s more from the release:

In each of the new cover illustrations, Kibuishi perfectly captures a pivotal moment from that particular book. For Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, the artwork captures the triumphant moment when Harry uses his Firebolt broom to retrieve the golden dragon’s egg he needs to move forward in the Triwizard Tournament as the crowd cheers him on.

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How To Make a Book Cover with Public Domain Images

Exploring the public domain Kunstformen der Natur, writer Casey Dexter turned a gorgeous 1904 illustration into part of an eye-catching book cover.

If you are looking for public domain images for your next book cover, we’ve created a list of free resources below. In a Reddit post, Dexter explained how he used the free Microsoft Paint and Pixlr to create the complete cover. Check it out:

I should also give credit to Ernst Haeckel, whose beautiful Kunstformen der Natur is in the public domain … the large text is in century gothic and my name is in century. I don’t know if they’re actually related in any way, but the title was a challenge because of the two big Os – it’s hard to get a default font that kerns properly with vowels like that, and century gothic seemed like one of the best. Century just happened to fit in well with the illustration, I thought. Maybe I’ll eventually get to go at it in Photoshop or something, all the text was done in MS Paint because for some reason there’s a really small text size limit on pixlr.

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The Cover That Launched a Thousand iBookstore Sales

Self-published novelist R.L. Mathewson initially published Playing for Keeps with a plain blue and white cover, but saw a significant sales spike in the iBookstore once she added a steamy Shutterstock photo to her cover (embedded below).

Smashwords founder Mark Coker outlined the sales spike in a chart in his second annual Money Money Money presentation about Smashwords sales (complete slideshow embedded above). We caught up with Mathewson to get some cover design advice from the independent author:

The new covers caught the readers eye and it helped clear up any confusion they may have had about the books. The new cover along with the price helped the books sell. I would say that you should avoid covers that cause confusion, are horrible to look at, too plain, or too over the top. You don’t need to spend a lot of money to get a good cover, but you do need something that can help draw attention to your book and intrigue someone to take a chance on your work.

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Fahrenheit 451 Design Includes Match & Striking Paper

Combining a matchbook and a classic novel, designer Elizabeth Perez created a thought-provoking edition of Ray Bradbury‘s Fahrenheit 451 for the Austin Creative Department.

Her design made the front page of Reddit, earning more than 400,000 views in a couple days. What do you think? Here’s more from the designer:

Fahrenheit 451 is a novel about a dystopian future where books are outlawed and firemen burn any house that contains them. The story is about supressing ideas, and about how television destroys interest in reading literature. I wanted to spread the book-burning message to the book itself. The book’s spine is screen-printed with a matchbook striking paper suface, so the book itself can be burned.

(Link via)

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