If you’ve been paying attention to recent book trends, you may have noticed that many recent novels have more interactive and immersive designs than the traditional ink and paper we all know and love. From mysterious inserts to edible pages, I’ve compiled a list of the 9 most innovative book designs you need to check out!
S. by J. J. Abrams and Doug Dorst
S. is an immersive story within a story. The novel appears to be an old library book titled Ship of Theseus. However, Abrams and Dorst’s book creates a new identity for itself through the notes left behind by “previous readers,” Jen and Eric. By reading both the book’s printed text and the “handwritten notes” in the margins, readers are immersed in both the world of the novel and the lives of its “previous owners.” S. invites readers into the mystery surrounding the novel through these notes and numerous removable inserts, including maps, postcards, and newspaper clippings. S. is available for order on Amazon.
Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
Inspired by the dystopian book-burning central to the plot of Bradbury’s book, Elizabeth Perez’s cover design gives the themes of this classic novel a tangible embodiment. Perez has included a single match on the cover and striking paper onto the spine of the book. These creative elements give readers a tactile connection to the world of the novel. According to Barnes and Noble, the cover was created at The Austin Creative Department, but we hope Fahrenheit 451‘s publisher will pick up this project to make this collectible edition widely available!
Good Ideas Glow in the Dark by Bruketa & Žinić
Croatian creative agency Bruketa & Žinić designed a book that can only be read in the dark. Under normal lighting, the book appears to be a blank, white journal, but when the lights turn off, the glowing text of the book becomes accessible. According to Dezeen, the book was originally designed as a creative presentation of Adris’s annual report and was displayed during the Weekend Media Festival.
We’re Getting on by James Kaelan
We’re Getting On sets itself apart by actively promoting the zero-waste initiative. The book is made with 100% recycled materials. Additionally, readers are encouraged to plant the book upon finishing it, as the interiors are made with seed paper and will grow into birch trees. Amazon boasts, “This is the first book ever printed that offsets its own carbon footprint 10X over.”
The Mirror Book by John Christie and Ron King
The Mirror Book stretches the boundaries between fine art and book design. Rather than containing paper pages and ink text, The Mirror Book contains exactly what its title implies: page after page of foil mirrors. According to The Victoria and Albert Museum, “On turning the pages, each new reader is confronted with their own reflection, and forced into a world of self-contemplation and, potentially, self-knowledge.”
The Octunnumi by Trevor Alan Foris
If you’re not deep into BookTok you may have missed the hype around The Octunnumi. This epic fantasy novel is an immersive experience from start to finish. It can be difficult to find in bookstores, so I encourage you to visit their website, which offers an intriguing title sequence and introductory material. The book features a stunning, matte black cover and page edges. It comes in a black box and paper envelope, which furthers the mystery around the book. Other bonus materials include a dictionary bookmark that defines the unique words and phrases throughout the novel. Every book should come with one of these!
Well Done by Bruketa & Žinić
Creators Bruketa & Žinić continue inventing unique designs with this palm-sized annual report designed for a food company called Podravka. According to Dezeen, the book must be wrapped in foil and cooked for 25 minutes to reveal the text printed in thermo-reactive ink. They claim this demonstrates the company’s values, stating, “To be able to cook like Podravka you need to be a precise cook.”
The Illuminae Files by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
The Illuminae is another story told through a unique combination of media. The narrative is revealed through a collection of materials printed into the book, including medical reports, interviews, emails, and maps. By analyzing all of these unique documents, the reader is able to put together the plot of this young adult science fiction novel.
The Edible Cookbook by Korefe
Korefe has created a cookbook that – in addition to bearing the recipe for lasagna – is designed to be baked and eaten as the pasta in that lasagna. Korefe’s website claims, “The book is made entirely of fresh pasta platters, filled with lasagna ingredients.” This innovative project combines culinary art with book design in a delightful and delicious way!