French book cover design

Faced with all the talk about bookstores closing in this country, I find myself turning to other countries, looking to see what role bookstores play in those lands. When I was studying in France, for example, I was astonished to find two large, equally popular independent bookshops seeming to coexist and, what’s more, flourish on the same boulevard. Just two streets over, there was an English bookstore, again spacious and continually filled with people, and then there were several more smaller bookshops scattered throughout the city. Granted this was back in 2008 before ebooks really took off. But even now in 2011 I read that the French are taking measures to support independent bookstores, considering them cultural meccas and their booksellers the custodians of that culture.

I think the minimalist design of the Gallimard Blanch collection encapsulates the place books occupy in the collective French mind. Yes, they are a status symbol, but the most admirable kind, because they represent what it is to be a French sophisticate: well-read, educated and cultivated. These Blanche titles dominate the shelves of most French bookstores and I love their stark sophistication.

How does book cover design influence the way you experience literature? Or does it? Have you ever bought a book for the cover? I confess I got into a phrase of reading books set in cold climates and I picked this book because of the snowy cover picture. The story did not disappoint either. :)


1 comment
  1. Dounia said:

    Having lived in France for some time until very recently, I have to say that I have yet to find somewhere else that has as many bookstores. New books, used books, English bookstores, old little bookshops hidden in the smallest of streets, or new ‘quartier’ bookshops; they’re everywhere, and it’s beautiful. Countries where the big chain bookstores are taking over could learn a thing or two…and we’d get to enjoy the beauty of those fabulous little bookshops we love so much.

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