Book Design Geekery: Endpapers

As you may already know, I am a huge fan of booktube. I subscribe to a bunch of different channels, including ArielBissett, PadfootandProngs07, PolandBananasBOOKS, and GingerReadsLainey. One channel that I’ve been following for about 6 months is Library at the Edge of the World, now called Holly Dunn Design. Holly has taken her love of books and made a career out of it through book design (which is something I aspire to do). One of her more recent videos is about endpapers, and I was completely inspired by it. 

If you don’t feel like watching the video and are unfamiliar with the term, endpapers are blank or decorated leafs of paper at the beginning and end of a book, especially fixed to the inside of the cover. Most endpapers are white or cream, matching the interior pages of the book. But some endpapers are beautiful with colors and designs.

I went through my personal library to find some of my particular favorite endpapers. I tried to find a few different kinds of endpapers to give you a bit of variety:

Bright Colors:
Broken Hearts, Fences, and Other Things to Mend by Katie Finn
Published May 13, 2014 by Feiwel & Friends

This book has really pretty hot pink endpapers, which complement the color scheme on the book’s jacket cover design. I don’t see hot pink endpapers very often, so this one really caught my eye. 

The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield
Published September 12, 2006 by Atria Books 

The endpapers on this book are a very pretty marble texture. They give the book an old-school kind of feel (which I believe complements the story? Haven’t read it yet).

Wizard's First Rule by Terry Goodkind
Published August 15, 1994 by Tor Books

These endpapers have a map on them, which is relatively typical for high fantasy novels. What I like about this one is that the map is laid out upon a pile of leaves on stone, which I think is a really nice touch.

Lavish Design:
Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
Published October 20, 2015 by Knopf Books for Young Readers

These endpapers come from an ARC of the book, and they’re really interesting in that they lay out the book’s publicity and marketing plan on them. Usually in ARCs, the publicity plans go on the first page or the back cover. The endpapers mimic the crazy formatting of the interior of the book with hand written notes, blacked out words, and a classified stamp. Very cool.

Going back to the video, Holly said something that I think is really interesting: even though it’s more expensive for the publisher to produce decorated endpapers, they are worthwhile because they make books really beautiful objects. This echoes a lot of the sentiments I’ve heard in some of the publishing classes in my grad program. Do you treat a book as a commodity, or as an object of art? Something to think about...

Do you have any favorite endpapers?

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