How Not To Design a Book Trilogy

I work in a bookstore and buy the books for the Military History section there.  I recently reordered Rick Atkinson’s entire World War II Liberation Trilogy from its UK publisher, and this is what they sent me:

Liberation Trilogy by Rick Atkinson

You’re seeing Book 1, Book 2, and Book 3 of the trilogy, all published by one publisher, Abacus.


I think you’ll agree with me that this is a classic example of how NOT to design a trilogy (and Abacus CAN make good-looking books, just have a gander at their site).

The only thing that is remotely the same across all three books is the author’s name (font and size)(although it’s slightly bigger on the book 3).  Everything else is different: book 1’s title has shadowing, book 2’s title is in capital letters of the same size, book 3’s title has capital letters in different sizes.  Not to mention the placement of the author’s name and the title, which differs, and only book 3 has ‘volume three of the Liberation Trilogy’ anywhere on the book cover.  There’s also something not right with each subtitle font – I think they are all subtly different and only matching the main title on book 3.

Here are their sides:

Liberation Trilogy by Rick Atkinson

Oh, but you say, obviously book 1 is from an old design.  Yes, I’ll give Abacus that.  And bad luck for me as book buyer that I get lumped with an old version of book 1.  But look at the Abacus logo on books 2 and 3 – why is one vertical and the other horizontal?  Why does book 2 have stripes above and below the author’s name?  Why is the title of book 3 bold, and not bold on book 2?

This makes my eye twitch, it really does.  I’ve seldom seen something done as half-assed as this.  It makes me wish that ‘bad book design’ was a legitimate reason for claiming books!  ^^


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