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Tao of Collecting

by Nalini Haynes

Turn CoatChanges
I like collecting books in sets, especially if they’re in a long running set that takes years to collect. Sadly I came to The Dresden Files late, so I have most of the set in a particular paperback cover. The last 4 books I have in hard cover, which is nice – I’ll take HC over paperback any day! But, and here’s the but, of the 4 hardcover books I have, they have 2 different cover styles.

I really like the covers for Turncoat and Changes. The covers for Side Jobs and Ghost Story are a new format. They’re still good, but the covers for Turncoat and Changes are distinctive and suit The Dresden Files in a unique way. I would like to see publishing companies develop a cover for a set and stick to that format consistently for the entire set.

I understand there’s a tendency to be influenced by fashion, but book covers shouldn’t be about the latest trends. Good books last a lifetime and beyond. Good book covers should reflect the book or series, to be placed on the bookshelf in a set, instead of placing books on shelves according to the year in which they were published. (I’ll put the Tor covers for The Rivers of London set alongside the 2011 Orbit covers for Harry Dresden…) Also, if I walk into a bookstore, even if I’m not aware of a new release in a series I’m collecting, I’ll spot it a mile away if it’s in a matching cover. Book designers need to understand the Tao of Collecting.

Do you have an anecdote on collecting that you’d like to share with other readers? A gripe? A collection of which you are justifiably proud?  It can be a photo of your bookshelf, a story about how you tracked down that elusive piece to complete your set, about how you took that collector’s item to a convention and it was nicked!

Previously published in Dark Matter issue 5, September 2011.  This blog has been pre-dated to reflect the date of original publication BUT YOUR COMMENTS ARE STILL WELCOME.

Nalini is an award-winning writer and artist as well as managing editor of Dark Matter Zine.


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