Tracks and trackers • 12 October 2007 • The SnowBlog

Tracks and trackers

When I moved to the countryside, Em lent me her book of animals tracks and signs so that I could figure out what sort of critters were visiting my garden. I'm a big fan of Ray Mears and was delighted to have one of his books to refer to. Click on the thumbnail and take a look at the cover. There's Ray, and there's his name in bold. But look closely and you'll discover something that it took me more than a week to notice. There are a couple of other names on the cover, in much smaller letters than Ray's name, and they are... the authors. When you see a book with Ray Mear's picture on the cover, it's about tracking and his name is by far the largest on the page, you assume he wrote it. Well I did anyway. Whether OUP have crossed some sort of line here I'm not sure, but the question is relevant to the cover design Snowbooks does. We regularly make books look slightly reminiscent of other similar-styled works. And it's not because we want to pass them off as something they're not; it's visual shorthand to say this book is similar to the more famous works it looks like. In other words, we're visually conveying a genuine similarity - which seems honest to me. But if we thought someone might actually mistake our book for some bestseller it partly resembles, we'd back off. We're not interested in publishing Don Brown's The Leonardo Code. But then again, I'm sure Oxford University Press aren't in that game either. But whether they intended it or not, that's what they achieved with the book above - at least with me. What do you think? Have they been a bit naughty or am I just not terribly observant?


The SnowBlog is one of the oldest publishing blogs, started in 2003, and it's been through various content management systems over the years. A 2005 techno-blunder meant we lost the early years, but the archives you're reading now go all the way back to 2005.

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