Sunday, March 29, 2009

The Book Cover Archive

This independently-operated archive of book covers and their designers is the work of Ben Pieratt and Eric Jacobsen "for the purpose of appreciation and categorization of book cover design."

The index page displays a number of thumbnail covers that provide a one-click view to available metadata that may include author, publisher, publication date, typeface, genre, designer, and art director. (Not every cover's page includes the same metadata.) Each of these categories is also an active link to cross-search for other covers sharing the same metadata. This page also provides a comment option that is moderated, an e-mail link for suggested edits to the page, and a link to Amazon. (Comments do include a date.) There is a drop-down search option that includes designers, titles, authors, art directors, photographers, illustrators, genres, publication date, publisher, typeface, and a "smart keyword search" box. The images are PNGs and JPEGs.

Unfortunately, covers can't be enlarged, nor is there any data on when the covers were added, the metada edited, scanning/digitizing, paper information (i.e. texture, gloss), where the images/books came from (i.e. bought, loaned - assuming they were digitized specifically for this site). There are no images of the back covers or information as to when the site was last updated. Apparently Mr. Pierrat is a cover designer, as a search using his name produced five covers (four of the five are for theological topics, which isn't a choice in the genre drop-down).

The sole mention of copyright is "All covers are the copyright of their respective publishers."

There is value-added with additional information about and links to "Portfolio sites of book cover designers", "Great Sites on Book Cover Design", "Font Identification", "BCA Blog" (which was interesting), " Submit a Cover" and "Support the Archive" (which is a little misleading in that it is actually a request to support "Children's Relief International" - a a health and education charity). I can appreciate the "Future Enhancements to the Archive" action list that includes items to do (such as tags and multiple images) and items done (such as RSS feed and Comments - each done item has a line through it). Additionally, the small black BCA icon on the far left of every page that redirects to the index and the "Steady Beta" seal are nice touches.

This is an extremely easy site to navigate with good use of white space, text size and image lay-out. It would appeal to the LibraryThing and Shelfari crowd, as well as those interested in publishing, art, advertising, and interesting fonts.

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