Friday, May 9, 2008

Covering Bond

Following on the heels of their Shepard Fairey /Orwell editions, Penguin Books is ready to drop some new Bond books. To commemorate 100 years of Ian Fleming, the venerable British publisher enlisted Michael Gillette to redesign their Bond book covers. Each cover features an illustration of an oh so seductive Bond vooman. The new editions drop on May 29th-- lively up your bookcase, worm.

Word from The Penguin Blog:

For much of the forty-four years since his death his books have been treated by a succession of publishers rather like that bizarre home cinema experience: a fast, enjoyable thrill not to be taken too seriously or paid much attention to, and something that is certainly not for adults.

The centenary of Fleming's birth was clearly a good time to revisit the Bonds and cover them in a package that says, yes these are fun, but also makes it implicit that there's no reason not to take them seriously. Most importantly, they should look like books worth owning.

To that end Michael Gillette was commissioned to paint fourteen iconic covers. The books were numbered on their spines so it's not hard to read them in order (if you're traditionally minded). The blurbs, adapted from earlier Penguin editions, were themed around the new unified concept. Fourteen book biographies, one for each back flap, replaced the usual author biography (which is found on page one). A short extract from each book graces the back cover. They were made into demi-format hardbacks to be not so much collectible as bloody irresistible.

Having worked on the Bond novels on and off for eight years – and these are the fourth set Penguin have done in that time – I can attest to their enduring appeal. And you won't find a safari suit in sight.

The new Bond hardbacks are published on May 29th. More information available here.

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