We have mentioned endpapers before, but now we wanted to highlight some special edition books that deserve recognition for their attention to detail! Take a look at how endpapers are made in production and these examples by @_prod_squad_books on Instagram:
The What, Why and How of Endpapers
End papers, for those who are not familiar with the term, are the double folded pages pasted onto the front and back covers of a hardcover book. Their purpose is to protect the pages within the book block when opening and closing the book. They are not part of the original book block and come into play in the final book binding stages. They are pasted onto a board, usually with PVA glue. Most printers stock a variety of colours, weights and sizes of endpapers which they buy in bulk and supply to publishers. Production managers have good relationships with their preferred printers and may discuss which endpapers to use for their budget.
However, lately a surge of custom end papers have been seen on the market. Custom end papers (usually in full colour) are designed by the publisher or graphic designers and printed especially for one title. Hence the increase in production costs. For this reason, most elaborate endpapers are seen in special gift editions or editions exclusive to certain bookstores; producing slightly less in order to keep production costs down.
The Doll Factory by Elizabeth Macneal - Picador 2019
Macneal’s debut novel The Doll Factory has elaborate endpapers that mirror the time-period and lavishness of the novel. Printed endpapers are mainly used for special editions or utilised for authors to sign in unique places, and this is no exception as Macneal drew the design herself! The whimsical wallpaper mirrors that of renowned artist William Morris, who was a key figure in Victorian Britain. This links perfectly with the novel’s focus on the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood and the intensity of their art. Morris is remembered for his experimentation with textile design, embroidery, wooden printing and natural dyes — as seen in Macneal’s intricate but natural colour palette. The entwining butterflies and roses mirror that of one Morris’ beloved works: his 1883 The Strawberry Thief. Contemporary designs like this turned parlour rooms into romantic gardens and this recreation starts the novel’s journey before the first chapter. The dark teal sprayed edges and cover design by Katie Tooke at Picador compliments the endpapers well, paying homage to the book’s artistic nature. While its endpapers celebrate nature, the dark teal and collection of insects alludes to a darker obsession within the novel...
A Deadly Education by Naomi Novik - Del Rey Books 2020
Published in 2020, Novik’s latest novel, A Deadly Education, has one of the most detailed printed endpapers to act as a map to be cross-referenced whilst reading the book, in the illumicrate edition. Maps are very popular in science fiction and fantasy novels due to the different worlds and places seen in the novel compared to real life. It helps the reader to visualise the location more clearly and see where a character is at the current point in the novel. The incredible detail in the map reminds me of the popular Haynes Manuals. These manuals show cross-sections of a wide range of products and points to the different parts that make up that specific cross-section. The map shows the Scholomance school with a slight cross-section to help point out all the rooms inside, such as the library and 1,600 individual dormitory rooms. There is additional writing that has been handwritten by someone, possibly the main character, El. This has to be one of my favourite endpapers, mixing endpapers with a map that readers can look back at if they want more visualisation when reading.
The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab - Titan Books 2020
V.E. Schwab’s 2020 bestseller, The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue, Illumicrate edition contains whimsical endpapers that capture the conflict between life and death within the novel. Schwab has used a silhouette illustration to reflect the protagonist’s invisibility to everyone in her life once she becomes immortal. Addie LaRue lives in the shadow of the people she knew which is why the silhouette perfectly encapsulates the main plot of the novel. Furthermore, there is a clear image of a tree bending to be shaped as a love heart. Both Addie and the devil she sold her soul to for immortality are beneath the heart-shaped tree which potentially resembles the love for life and living. Despite this embodiment of life, Addie is cursed as she cannot experience it fully due to her invisibility. The devil remains opposite her as a conscious reminder that immortality comes at an unfortunate price. The endpaper is also reflected on the back of the Illumicrate hardback where the image has been imprinted using hot silver foiling. The entire hardback includes gorgeous, sprayed edges and a variety of aesthetically pleasing artistic techniques that all resemble the fantasy genre in which the novel is set.