It’s not very often that a new publishing house arises to offer modern and carefully crafted clothbound books. There are the clothbound Penguin Classics of course, but I’m talking about independent publishing here. Given the state of the book industry, who would be brave (crazy / passionate) enough to launch such a business? Well, White’s Books did try it, and for this we must congratulate them, for they left us with some amazing books.
A creative duo
White’s Books is the encounter of publisher Jonathan Jackson with art director David Pearson – known for its work at Penguin Classics, designing the Great Ideas series, and may more. A will to publish very qualitative books bounded them: books that can be seen as beautiful objects, books you’d cherish and pass on to other generations (admit you can’t do the same with all the books we read nowadays, they quickly turn into pieces).
The duo selected a list of English classics for their first collection. They commissioned talented illustrators for the covers’ design. The result? Gorgeous books.
Books to treasure
The first one I bought – and my favourite one – is Treasure Island, by Robert Louis Stevenson, illustrated by Stanley Donwood (famous for his Radiohead album covers). Having a look at the cover is enough to take you to this agitated sea where a golden sky dominates. With this shiny cover, the book itself is a kind of treasure on its own.
Each and every details of White’s books display a great care, both in the design and in the typographical choices. But let the pictures talk for themselves:
You’ll see here two other of White’s books, Emma by Jane Austen, illustrated by Amy Gibson; and the Sherlock Holmes stories by Arthur Conan Doyle, illustrated by Mickael Kirkham. I particularly like the Sherlock Holmes one as it succeeds in conveying this atmosphere so particular to the exploits of England’s most famous detective.
White’s Books adventure
I hope by now you want to know more about White’s Books, but you’ve noticed I haven’t provided any link to their website. Alas, as hinted in the introduction, White’s Books didn’t survived this great adventure. You can still find their beautiful books (you know where to look… you can ask your local bookshop for a start), but the publishing house no longer exists. It’s a pity, we agree.
Like them, we are a few who still believe there is a market for book-lovers, for people willing to spend an extra dime for amazing books. Books that last, and inspire. We all know it’s a harsh world for independent publishers, so let’s just hope others will pick up the torch and fight for beautiful books!
The photos from this article were taken at Maison Nordik, which I’d like to thank:
Set in the lively area of Lamarck-Caulaincourt (Paris 18), Maison Nordik is a home-decor and vintage furniture shop focusing on Scandinavian design. Carefully curating pieces from Denmak, Sweden, the Netherlands, and Belgium, Maison Nordik offers a beautiful selection from the best of Nordic Design.
Visit them in Paris (159 rue Marcadet) or online: www.maisonnordik.com
Thanks also David Pearson and Mickael Kirkham for their kind answers!