The eventual book itself was gorgeous. The design was intricate and detailed but left enough conceptual space over for her art to be represented properly. The paper had been chosen for its texture and colour representation. The typesetting and layout was the result of many months of work.

The design of the book was indivisible from its substance—form and content inseparable. Together they delivered. Apart they failed. The design was a major part of the book’s meaning.

Even if we disregard the contribution the book’s materiality and substance made to its aesthetics, no ebook format today comes close to having the capabilities necessary to deliver that book’s meaning because none of them are capable of delivering design.

In ebooks, art and design is forced to adopt the aesthetics and subtlety of a direct marketing email.

We need to face the possibility that a large part of the publishing industry simply cannot be shifted from print to ebooks without compromises that utterly destroy the books in question.

– excerpted from “The Stillborn Creature” by Baldur Bjarnason

The Nightfall
Will Barnet, Artist

[h/t to ebookporn…]

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