SHPANK, CRØSS & STÖCK: Flat-pack on your back

From Ballardian wife-swappers to Updike’s nymphomaniacs, we’ve long known that the suburbs are hotbeds of sexual activity. Beyond the clipped lawns, net curtains, valances and ornamental water features lies a world of erotic clichés: bored housewives and hot handymen, car key parties and cross-dressing. So it comes as no surprise that a well-known Swedish furniture-maker has taken the opportunity to enter the specialist adult market, furnishing the adulterers of the green belt with the tools necessary for their pleasures.

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Posted November 5, 2009 | Comments Off on SHPANK, CRØSS & STÖCK: Flat-pack on your back.

Under Dirty Covers: Hang Fire Pulp

Bookkake was exceedingly chuffed to find itself featured on the pages of one of its favourite design blogs the other day, as Caustic Cover Critic wrote, very appreciatively, about our covers:

Having just come across a publisher I’d not heard of before, I was really impressed by their cover designs. The publisher is Bookkake, and their specialty is saucy stuff, old and new, as well as a fascinating blog…

Thanks so much. And, coincidentally, we were already preparing our own little homage to another recent post on CCC, highlighting these wonderful pulp jackets from the 1950s and 60s:

You can check out the full collection over at Hang Fire Books’ Flickr stream.

Posted February 17, 2009 | Comments Off on Under Dirty Covers: Hang Fire Pulp.

A Sarsen Amongst Dirt: Experimental Type & Design

I just had to post this excellent little presentation from Alan Trotter, copywriter at Penguin. As you know, we love excellent book design, and we’re particularly interested in experimental book design. Tom Phillips’ A Humument, featured in the following, is one of our all-time favourite books – do check it out.

A couple of other examples of this kind of thing we like, are the bookish experimentations of B.S. Johnson, whose second novel Alberto Angelo contains both stream-of-conciousness marginalia, and cut-through pages enabling the reader to see ahead – possibly the most radical act I know in experimental books.

Johnson also had his novel The Unfortunates published, bound only as chapters, in a box: only the first and final chapters are specified, the rest are to be shuffled by the reader. This week we came across a new and similar experiment; Ben Greenman’s Correspondences, a collection of epistolary short fictions published, yes, in a rather lovely box:

There’s a very complimentary review over at TO Chicago, elaborating on the way this strange format, including letterpress and accordian-folded pages, supports rather than distracts from the work.

Anyone else got any favourite examples? Keep sending us your book design tips as well, as we’ll be doing regular round-ups.

Posted January 14, 2009 | Comments (1).

Lovely, lovely books: some recent book design triumphs

Yesterday I got this in the post: Farrar Strauss Giroux’s beautiful new box set edition of Roberto Bolano’s acclaimed 2666, which I’m very much looking forward to reading.


Isn’t it great? I wish more publishers would consider this format for new books, as I’m afraid I’m not a fan of weighty hardbacks unless I know it’s a keeper already, and usually have to wait for the paperback. It got me thinking about book design – which I do a lot anyway – and thought I’d share some recent beauties I’d chanced upon.

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Posted November 21, 2008 | Comments Off on Lovely, lovely books: some recent book design triumphs.

Erotica Cover Watch, or I Can Haz Sexist

I recently received an email from Kristina Lloyd over at the excellent Erotica Cover Watch blog, where she asks the very pertinent question “Why only women on the covers of erotic books?” As authors of erotica themselves, she and her co-host Mathilde Madden have become a little fed up with the way their books are packaged, so they started BICEPS, their bid to Banish Inequality on Covers in Erotica, Porn & Smut.

It’s a pretty good point, as I think the covers below, highlighted by Kristina and Mathilde, demonstrate:

Publishers’ justifications for this obvious double-standard are well summed up in the discussion that kicked off the ECW blog, which rely mostly on “the reality of publishing” argument, and straight men’s fear of seeing male flesh and nudity – ignoring the basic point that women are by some margin the best writers and biggest readers of contemporary erotica.

Luckily, it seems Bookkake comes off fairly well – “although,” Kristina says, “I’d be happier still to see even more images of men hinted at but, hey, kudos to you for doing it on The Torture Garden.” Well, we can’t argue with that, and we’ll certainly try harder. And we’re very pleased that ECW have given us the ultimate honour of including a Bookkake pastiche among their frankly somewhat disturbing LolTits collection. Do I even need to say NSFW here?

Posted November 20, 2008 | Comments Off on Erotica Cover Watch, or I Can Haz Sexist.

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