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Judged by their covers: Cara and the cult collections

With the popularity of eBooks, publishers are becoming more and more creative with the design of the physical book. Cara Fielder takes a look at books that are not only beautiful on their own, but demand to sit together as part of a full collection...

Posted on 24th February 2013 by Waterstones

When it comes to people, I try never to judge a book by its cover but when choosing a novel, I can be easily swayed. Sometimes a cover can be so eye-catching that you simply can’t walk past it. Here’s a peak at some of my favourite collections that have encouraged me to read books I hadn’t chosen before or even made me re-purchase a novel I already owned.

Penguin Ink

Penguin Ink

The Penguin Ink collection is one of my favourite series of all time. They take modern classics from some of their bestselling authors and then collaborate with world-famous tattoo artists in the cover design. The 2012 additions to this collection have been the most stunning so far, my favourite being Notes on a Scandal by Zoe Heller, designed by one of the most sought after tattooists, Valerie Vargas. Closely followed by White Teeth by Zadie Smith, designed by Lynn Akura.



Barnes and Noble Leatherbound Classics

Barnes & Noble Leather boundBarnes and Noble Leatherbound Classics are a fabulous collection of hardbacks that ooze traditional glamour. They feel as if they’ve fallen directly off the shelves of a Victorian London townhouse and into modern-day homes. The most beautiful covers include Alice in Wonderland, Frankenstein and The Picture of Dorian Gray. Just one of these on your bookshelf will add a real touch of class.



Penguin Threads

Penguin Threads


Here’s another incredible collection from the wonderful people at Penguin. These Penguin Threads were commissioned by their Art Director, Paul Buckley and are a traditionally sketched, and then hand stitched with needle and thread. The series is made of true classics such as The Wizard of Oz, The Secret Garden and Black Beauty and are perfect for giving as gifts or as an edition to keep and cherish for years.



Picador’s 40th Anniversary

Picador 40


Picador’s 40th Anniversary collection was released last year and consists of twelve of their most popular titles. These include The Line of Beauty by Alan Hollinghurst, The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold and Dirt Music by Tim Winton.. All the covers are beautifully coordinated in black and white that are just stunning in their simplicity. Each novel also comes with extra material such as author interviews, essays and recommended reading lists.



Vintage 21

Vintage 21

Vintage books celebrated their 21st birthday with Vintage 21 by publishing... Yes, you’ve guessed it, 21 titles, each in their own vivid colour, creating a gorgeous rainbow look when placed together on your bookshelf. They are also the most tactile books you will ever come across; it’s virtually impossible not to run your hand across them repeatedly after you discover how soft they are. The novels themselves vary in age and include Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit, The Time Traveler’s Wife and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.


Cara Fielder, for Waterstones.com/blog