Thursday, September 20th, 2007

Better default cover images?

There are a few small, but cool things about Google Book Search. I’m fond of book covers they show when a book doesn’t have a cover.

It’s quite a simple trick—a series of default images with HTML text over them. Here’s my shot at the same technique, using an image I found online, doctored somewhat.* (I’ve put it on the new work page I’m developing, a much simpler one.)

I think it would be cool to have a bunch of these, including ones with more personality, and to allow people to choose among them if they want.

Personally, I’d love to make one for my Loeb Classical Library books. Those are the read/green Latin/Greek books you’ve seen racked up at well-stocked Borders. I’ve got dozens of them. Most of mine are old and don’t have ISBNs. They show up as identical beige rectangles now. In the real world, they all look the same too, but they’re much more distinctive. (Martha Stewart Living** has a great photo of a set she bought for her daughter’s East Hampton cottage.)

This isn’t a priority obviously.*** But I think it would be fun to do at some point, I think—and to get others involved with. If anyone wants to help out, let me know. Either way, maybe we can do a contest for it later.

*Copyright doesn’t protect a faithful photograph of a cover such as this. Copyright requires an element of originality. Scans–such as the scans used by Google books and others–can’t be separately copyrighted either. The underlying book can be, if it hasn’t expired, but a perfectly faithful scan cannot. Sites like Google get around this problem by writing restrictions into the terms of use.
**Not a common read for me… I love the web. I found a reference here. Apparently decorating with Loebs is a fairly common thing. According to this link, Martin Scorsese has a decorative set as well. According to this link, Oprah has one too. She should do a Book Club on Silius Italicus.
***And no criticism about blogging this instead of doing [fill in bug or feature here], please. I’m pushing 14 hours today! 🙂

Labels: features


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