A book cover is a distillation. It is a haiku, if you will, of the story. This particular story by Osama Tezuka is his epic life of the Buddha, and it’s eight volumes in all. But the best thing is when it’s on your shelf, you get a shelf life of the Buddha, moving from one age to the next. All of these solutions derive their origins from the text of the book, but once the book designer has read the text, then he has to be an interpreter and a translator.
And the last story I’m going to talk about is quite a story. A woman named Aomame in 1984 Japan finds herself negotiating down a spiral staircase off an elevated highway. When she gets to the bottom, she can’t help but feel that, all of a sudden, she’s entered a new reality that’s just slightly different from the one that she left, but very similar, but different. And so, we’re talking about parallel planes of existence, sort of like a book jacket and the book that it covers. So how do we show this? We go back to Hepburn and Dietrich, but now we merge them. So we’re talking about different planes, different pieces of paper. So this is on a semi-transparent piece of velum. It’s one part of the form and content. When it’s on top of the paper board,which is the opposite, it forms this. So even if you don’t know anything about this book, you are forced to consider a single person straddling two planes of existence. And the object itself invited exploration interaction, consideration and touch. This debuted at number two on the New York Times Best Seller list. This is unheard of, both for us the publisher, and the author.We’re talking a 900-page book that is as weird as it is compelling, and featuring a climactic scene in which a horde of tiny people emerge from the mouth of a sleeping girl and cause a German Shepherd to explode. (Laughter)