i always judge a book by its cover

i always judge a book by its cover

{the book cover archive, via a cup of jo}

i’ve always been a sucker for a good book cover, and am regularly on the hunt for my favourite novels with beautiful and interesting cover designs. jo goddard’s post yesterday had me eagerly scouring the internet for exciting new finds, and as i was doing so, i was reminded of another photo shoot i had assisted on. in fact, it was my first ever photo shoot, way back in 2003, whilst i was still studying at university.

the shoot was for elle decoration, where i was doing an internship at the time, and was styled by despina curtis, and photographed by jo tyler. the feature looked at how you could “spice up your book collection” and considered interesting ways for storing and displaying your books in your home.

these were elle decoration’s book styling tips, from the october 2003 issue:

1. make use of extra space on a wide staircase by stacking books and striking accessories along one side.

2. pretty up boring book covers by binding you books in wallpapers and bold designs and, for added impact, decorate your shelves to match.

3. for a touch of luxury have your books covered. choose richly patterned fabrics, with embossed leather spines, and add satin ribbon markers. you can have your books bound to order, in your choice of fabric, at shepherds bookbinders.

4. beautiful books deserve to be seen, so turn them in to miniture artworks with this ‘pat’ display stand with wire strings, from bieke hoet.

5. frame a childhood favourite or vintage book. treat it like a treasured photo, with a patterned wallpaper background for contrast.

6. hang up cherished books and create an impromptu display by threading ribbons through the spines and suspending them from hooks. add clothes and accessories to complete the look.


  1. Josh

    25 February

    I love those Nabokov covers.

  2. Marthe

    25 February

    Another great post!

    I LOVE books, and I have so many of them! I am definitely going to be more creative with displaying them and I’ll start today!

    I saw an interesting photograph in the norwegian elle decor the other day, which was storing books with the spines in towards the wall and let the pages be the only visible part of the book. (I don’t know if you understand, if you don’t I can try to scan the pic). It was really cool and visual!

    • kate

      25 February

      Hi Marthe, yep that is another great idea!

      It’d look great visually, my only issue would be how to find the book you want when all you can see are the pages!

      But it would definitely keep things clean and colour co-ordinated with all the white/cream pages facing out, and would look great in a minimalist house! xx

  3. urban flea

    25 February

    me too! i’m definitely a sucker for packaging! thanks so much for sharing, and i hope you’re having a wonderful week my dear!

    xo urban flea :)

  4. mdashing

    27 February

    This is such a smart, lovely post. Bookmarked! (No pun intended.) (Seriously). Love from a fellow BYW student.

  5. Bea

    28 February

    Never have I wished more for a wide staircase!

    Before I went back to uni, I worked as a librarian. Stylish homages to books set my heart all aflutter. LOVE.

    If I move to London one day, I will need your styling talents, lovely…

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