Pull out all of the jacketed books on your bookcase and one by one peek underneath. To make it even more interesting try to guess whether there will be anything hiding—be it art, a subtle emboss, some foil, or a water stain from that time you fell asleep reading it in the bathtub (NOTE: that last one doesn't count...and seriously if the book was that boring why do you still own it?) Guessing is like calling the eight ball for people who's coordination lies more in kerning than in cues. You'll be surprised which ones have little hidden gems. Surely that $50 collector's edition you scrapped up enough money for at the very end of a convention will, right? NOPE! But winds up that cheesy Phyllis Diller book someone bought you as a joke is hiding a gorgeous embossed green foil design. Who woulda guessed it? They say you can't judge a book by its cover but this seems to prove you can't judge a case by its jacket either.
:01 doesn't often do jacketed hardcover books, preferring fancy french flaps and keeping the price of full color books a bit less "ak! I must now move to a cardboard box!," so when I see a beautiful case treatment I can't help but drool.
Here are some of my favorites hiding in my bookcases (click on the images for larger views):
THE WIND IN THE WILLOWS by Kenneth Grahame and Dick Cuffari. The cover image is um...weird to say the least. Weird in a way I utterly love. As we all know Mr. Toad gets carried away. Quite literally. Beautiful line-art of Toad slightly more sane underneath as he brushes his...hair?
If you have yet to see a Laura Vaccaro Seeger book in person and care anything at all about book design you MUST get to a bookstore or library right now. Seriously don't even finish this sentence. She is, without a doubt, the modern master of the concept book and a true genius when it comes to playing with interaction between jackets and cases. FIRST THE EGG (which was a stunning cover before all those awards it had to go and win—geez Laura!) is probably my favorite reveal of hers as the chicken and the egg swap places, while still sharing the same beautiful paint through a clever die-cut.
One I did guess right was that Istvan Banyai's THE OTHER SIDE would have something amazing on the other side. So many little touches of brilliance here, but my fav would have to be the back flap with the author facing the wrong way. Take off the jacket and see the author's face...plus all of the text from the outside backwards as if it bled right through.
Okay this is one you MUST click on to get the full effect. Jason Lutes and Nick Bertozzi's HOUDINI THE HANDCUFF KING has some stunning hidden artwork under that cover continuing where the front image left off and escaping once again.
At the risk of making this entry give WAR AND PEACE a run for its money here's a gallery of my other favorites. I'd love to hear what books you find on your bookcases that have gorgeous hidden art. Feel free to comment below or just friend us on flickr and post them there silently if you are feeling shy.