Communion Of Dreams

Decisions, decisions.

Remember this?

It's a backwards book!

It’s a backwards book!

Well, I’m getting ready to do the actual “normal” edition of Communion of Dreams, and I need to make a decision. The hand-bound, cloth-covered version will look just like that, except with everything done the usual way. Like this:

But I need to make a decision about how the leather-covered versions will look. And I am going to ask the people who have already ordered copies of said versions, but I thought I would also throw open the question for others — particularly if you think that at some point you would like to order one of these (or the same kind of binding for St. Cybi’s Well when that is done).

The question is this: would you prefer a smooth-spine, modern-style leather binding similar to what is shown here:

Or would you prefer a more classic-style leather binding with raised cords on the spine, such as this:

It largely comes down to how the books are sewn together. The cloth-bound edition is sewn on tapes (as seen in the images in this post). I can put the same binding into a leather cover without a problem. Or I can sew the books onto cords (as seen in this entry on my professional site). I don’t mind a little extra work — which would be the case for the raised-cord bindings — but wonder whether the aesthetic is out-of-step with a modern work of science fiction.

So, thoughts?

Edited to add: The two different leather bindings shown just demonstrate the differences between the structures on the spine of the books. In each case, the overall design was determined by *that* project. The final design for my books will be different — and related in theme to each book in a way I think is appropriate.


Jim Downey


9 Comments so far
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I am a big fan of the old school look but I’m not sure how many others are. If it were up to me, I’d go with cords.

But I’m just trying to make you work harder. 😉

Comment by Kyle (@Agmarr)

Yeah, I know how you are. 😉

Comment by James Downey

They both look very traditional. (The first one look quite bland, especially.) For a scifi novel I should think you’d want some more, well, perky. Maybe take the traditional elements, throw them in a blender, and see what comes out.

Comment by Nancy

Well, neither of the ones shown are what I would use for this particular binding – but of course, I don’t have an example of what I’d do for this particular binding, so it’s a chicken-&-egg problem.

To a certain extent, people are just going to have to trust me and my aesthetic sensibilities. But I thought I’d get some feedback on the structure, at least.

Comment by James Downey

I have both styles on my bookshelves, some from past centuries and some from Franklin Mint reprints. While I like both, my first thought was that the raised-cord style seems rather disproportionate to this size book. My second thought is that the smooth spine seems more approachable, friendlier. These are my personal impressions only, not based on any other insights.

Comment by Frank Moorman

Thanks for the feedback, Frank. Actually, one of the skills of a good bookbinder is to make the book *work* correctly for the size — doing the raised-cord structure won’t be any kind of a problem for this book, and will feel solid yet friendly to the hand.

Your thoughts on the aesthetics are a different story, of course. And I appreciate you taking the time to share them.

Comment by James Downey

Cords. Definitely.

Comment by Karen Locke

Thanks, Karen!

Comment by James Downey

[…] the decision has been made: we’ll be going with a design for the leather bindings which includes raised […]

Pingback by In search of the lost cords.* | Communion Of Dreams

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