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Somewhere This Way

I’m not usually a big fan of repackaging books—it tends to happen a lot these days, and I think the noise can distract from new fiction. However, there are exceptions: I liked the recent (and ongoing) series of Atlantic Crime Classics, and the new Magnum Collection from Penguin, published today, also seems to be a good-looking little set.

The collection currently consists of six titles (more to come?), illustrated using “rare and unseen” images from the Magnum photo archives. The jacket images are nicely chosen, and the book titles are on a peelable sticker, prompting the question: peel the sticker for the purity of the image, or leave it to maintain the integrity of the overall design? Of course, you could also leave the cover alone altogether, and just read the book. The titles are for the most part interesting choices, intended to fit in with the masculine image of Magnum—this series isn’t aimed at the chicklit market.

The six titles are:

  • The Man on the Moon – Andrew Chalkin
  • Hell’s Angels – Hunter S Thompson
  • The Fight – Norman Mailer
  • In Cold Blood – Truman Captoe
  • Hiroshima – John Hersey
  • Hellfire – Nick Tosches

At around a tenner, these editions aren’t too cheap, but presumably they’re printed on nice stock, to match the quality and show off the photographs. I’m tempted to pick up one or two myself and have a look…

The Magnum Cover of Hiroshima The Magnum cover of In Cold Blood

2 Comments on “The Penguin Magnum Collection”

  1. John Self Says:

    The answer is ‘peel the sticker’ as it reveals the brilliance of the cover designs much more clearly – see my comments here.

    Interesting point about the masculinity of the images – hadn’t really occurred to me. But then I suppose the books are pretty male-tinged anyway.

    The books are printed on thickish paper, which does make them rather tightly-bound and harder to read without breaking the spine than most paperbacks – particularly, I imagine, for Chalkin’s 600-pager. My other bugbears with the series are that the type isn’t reset, so the inside looks pretty old and murky, with whatever groovy typeface the publishers thought appropriate in the early 80s, say (for Hellfire, which turns out to be a brilliant book). And that barcode on the spine. What were they thinking??

  2. Rob Says:

    Hi John, thanks for the extra information and the link! It’s a real shame that they haven’t reset the type—reissues like this should provide quality design throughout the book; otherwise, you might as well just be printing postcards.

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