Steve Jobs: The Exclusive Biography by Walter Isaacson—A review of the book design

Steve Jobs: A biography. The US version published by Simon & Schuster.

Well got this a couple of days ago delivered by It’s the US version published by Simon & Schuster that I chose to order. Interestingly, the UK version published by Little Brown has pure white paper boards, i.e., lacking the silver cloth seen in the picture above. I’m not overly surprised by the design and production—it’s very simple (understandable given Steve Jobs ideology) yet feels cheap due to the paper boards and uneven silver cloth being glued together. Having seen the UK version in person, I prefer the design (i.e., lacking the silver cloth) over this US version. What bugs me is that the publishers for both the UK and US editions could have used much better materials to make this book fell less cheap. The spine is already showing lines of creases and bend and it is doubtful how many reads this book will last before it crumbles.

Other than that the book arrived relatively safe in thin packaging, which at first seemed like a joke for a book this size; it’s got a couple of nicks to the top and lower spine and some creases to the dust jacket, which I can’t tolerate. aren’t spending much on packaging. I dropped using because of their appalling packaging: they sent me The Book of the Moon by Rick Stroud in an envelope; a hardback book in an envelope; unbelievable! That’s free shipping. I’m finding this trend gravely worrying compared to other vendors. For example, Hatchards, the bastion of booksellers in the UK since 1797, are a godsend. I received last week Peter Ackroyd’s new book: Foundation: The History of England, Vol.1 in a oversized box figuratively meant to protect a tank from damage. It was carefully packed.

In the end it comes down to free vs. pay; you get what you pay for. I paid £6.50 for packing and shipment to Denmark for my Hatchards order.


2 thoughts on “Steve Jobs: The Exclusive Biography by Walter Isaacson—A review of the book design

  1. I have a fondness for actual books as well; although I’m not terribly fussy, it makes me crazy when I buy a new book, and the dust jacket gets torn, or I lose it somehow. It’s a slippery slope. I also recall living in Florida – if I bought a book that I wanted to preserve, I had to seal it in a plastic bag to keep the palmetto bugs (basically big, flying cockroaches) from eating the cloth on the spines. Bastards.

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