Some more on book art

In the previous post I mentioned that I prefer paper books to ebooks. I do. But I recently saw a trailer for the new enhanced edition of The Song of Ice and Fire saga offered by iBooks. I think the covers of this edition are beautiful, with this minimalist watercolor style and suggestive images that still leave plenty for the reader’s imagination.

Comic Comic Comic

Comic Comic

Now, I’d love to have the whole series on my shelve with those gorgeous covers. Alas, they’re only available as ebooks.

The enhanced edition means that the ebooks contain interactive maps, annotations, and family trees — all quite useful in a saga as sprawling as the Song of Ice and Fire. But the enhanced editions also contain artwork and here I am a little less enthusiastic. I like to imagine things myself — the characters, the castles, even the sigils. It’s part of the magic of books, magic that happens between the author and the reader, through his descriptions and my imagination. Illustrations, especially realistic ones, tend to feel like intruders.

In this case I’d be more on board if the artwork inside these books was more in keeping with the style of the covers — mere hints rather than full-on visual renderings. (By the way, I can’t find who’s the author of those covers!)

Still, a very interesting development in the world of books, as Martin points out in the trailer.

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