A great reading experience is a lot more than just the words on the page (or screen), the way a great dinner is so much more than just the food on the plate. While our product and design team has been hard at work on building a beautiful app for DailyLit, one of the most frustrating problems we’ve run into has been the lack of cover art for our titles. It doesn’t matter how graceful or intuitive the layout is—no one wants to see rows and rows of auto-generated covers, and there aren’t many resources for cover art for works in the public domain (like the classics you find on DailyLit).
This was more than just a problem for our app. There are few things more dispiriting for a book lover than a beautiful book with a terrible cover. A good cover is many things. It’s a work of art and design unto itself, something crafted by someone (or several someones) over many hours. It’s a sign that someone cared enough about this book to make something beautiful to go alongside it. More importantly, it’s an introduction to the book that follows, giving you a sense of what the book is about and setting the tone before you even start reading. Good cover art is one of the ways we keep classics feeling fresh and modern. That’s why it’s so important for great books to have great covers, and so sad when they don’t.
Then we came up with this crazy-sounding idea: what if we reached out to artists and designers who also love books to try and give these classics some much-deserved attention? We approached our friends at the Creative Action Network and set to work building Recovering the Classics, which just launched this month. We’re all really excited for and proud of this project—not only are we getting great, publicly available art for some of our favorite works of literature, we’re also giving talented artists great exposure and even an opportunity to earn some money for their hard work. We’ve already gotten more than a hundred and fifty submissions from dozens of amazing artists from all over the world. We’ve also been getting some great press from Huffington Post, Fast Company, and Today.com.
Right now there are a few ways to get your hands on these gorgeous covers: you can order prints of your favorite covers directly from CAN, you can download a high-quality ebook with the cover of your choice for your iPhone, iPad, or most other ereaders, or, if you just love the feel of a real book in your hands (we do!), you can also order a printed copy through our partners at the Harvard Book Store. All you have to do is click on your favorite cover and follow the links.
Managing Editor, DailyLit