Portugal is a hot travel destination for many reasons, for instance, because of its south coast beaches that were chosen the best in Europe and its quirky cities, but also a hotel in central Portugal is an absolute delight for book lovers. The hotel library has a collection of 40 000 Portuguese and English titles. Most of the books are available for hotel guests to read.
The Literary Man hotel has been built into an old house located in the ancient village of Obidos. Guest rooms in the hotel are individual and (reasonably) priced according to size and facilities. Books can be found in hotel’s public spaces in the lobby, bar and restaurant.
The hotel has also made available a few book-related activities. Book Romantics is a special dinner, Book a Story follows a story to the wine cellar for tasting, and Book Nature takes guests to a bicycle ride along landscapes of Obidos.
For an accidental literary traveler, a hotel located in a small town of Obidos is sort of no man’s land. In central Portugal, somewhere between Lisbon and Porto, a traveler really must have the will and the energy to look for the hotel. The famous surfing beach in the town of Nazare is relatively close to Obidos, but that’s about it.
The public service broadcaster in Portugal, RTP, made a visit to the Literary Man hotel. The recorded video is in Portuguese, but you can see how the hotel looks like.
As you view the interior of the hotel, you may get the feeling that books have only been used to decorate public spaces. So what? Many types of artwork have been used to decorate hotels for centuries, and I haven’t seen any artist complain about it.
Designing good book covers is difficult. It is creative work that requires that the designer is able to capture the essence of a book in an image that pleases everyone, especially the publisher’s marketing department, and is attractive from a reader’s point of view. 12 book cover designers have shared their stories on their works that were killed before they were published.
If you examine covers of different genres of books, you instantly notice how the genre defines many factors for the cover. Romance covers tend to have a man and a woman in, crime novels often have dark covers, text books show an item from the contents of the book, and nonfiction books have something about the overall theme of the book.
The most difficult book covers to design are for a genre that is so broad that it is hard to define: literary books.
3 cover designs for the same book. Left: the original book cover in France. Center: rejected cover. Right: published cover design.
Creative Review has managed to get stories from 12 cover designers on their works that were rejected. Many stories have a lesson that the designer learnt from the setback.
One of the stories and the key takeaway of the project is told by Thy Bui who was the first designer to try and create the cover for a book: “This cover was scrapped, as were a few more attempts. The final cover was designed by Sophie Burdess. So the lessons learnt? That there is almost always a hiccup somewhere along the process – accept this. And, there is no right or wrong design for a book cover. Our role as designers is to explore the options.”
Designing a cover for an ebook is the same thing as for a print book. A collection of ebook cover designs from multiple designers can be viewed, for instance, at the book cover design awards page. Each cover has a brief review. These books are very genre-specific, making judging their covers easier than, for instance, literary book covers.