15 April 2012

Ephemeral Wrappers

Richard de la Mare (1901-1986), executive with Faber & Faber, in A Publisher on Book Production (London: J. M. Dent, 1936), p. 41:
The history of the book jacket is a strange one. The wretched thing started as a piece of plain paper, wrapped round the book to protect it during its sojourn in the bookseller's shop; but it has now become this important, elaborate, not to say costly and embarrassing affair that we know today, and of which we sometimes deplore the very existence. How much better might this mint of money that is emptied on these ephemeral wrappers -- little works of art though many of them may be -- be spent on improving the quality of the materials that are used in the making of the book itself!
Some publishing trivia: According to this article, it was de la Mare who suggested adding the second Faber to the company name even though there wasn't one.