This is fascinating because there are only two things here that the publisher really cares about communicating:
The first is that it comes from Penguin. The orange spine and the logo take care of that. They are by far the most dominant aspect of the spine messaging.
Clearly less important in this case was the name of the author. It is discretely placed at the top. Elegant but out of the way.
Finally, at the bottom of the communication pecking order is the name of the book itself.
In fact, it is so unimportant that the white type is pretty much lost against the orange background of the publisher branding.
Those were the days when publishers had the upper hand in author relationships and it shows.
We will never return to those times but there is a half way house — where both Authors and Publishers can bring values that influence and inspire the consumer.
Sadly, few imprints (Two Roads / Nosy Crow maybe?) have shown the vision to make this happen.
This is crazy in an era where ‘Discoverability’ is such a crippling issue.
Publishers should be doing everything they can to give consumers new and interesting ways of finding their books online and stronger imprint brands are an obvious opportunity.
It is happening in other markets such as Gaming (RockStar Games); Music (XL); Television (HBO); and Film (Pixar). Surely it is not beyond the skills of publishers to turn certain imprints into consumer brands? After all, some are half way there already.
If only the publishers had the confidence to take that final step…