Beautiful Sprayed Edges | Decorative, stencilled & painted book edge treatments


Hello booklovers! A few weeks ago I ran a poll on my community
page for my next video, and this wander through my bookshelves to pick out some of my favourite
page edge designs was the winning topic. I’m going to focus on the more interesting
designs, but I’ll just start by saying I do have a lot of books with gilt edges, this
one here is a recent edition of Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte, and they’re also
on Barnes and Noble leatherbound editions, Easton Press etc. In addition to making books look more beautiful,
gilding of page edges was actually introduced around the fourth century as a means to protect
pages from damage caused by the oils on human hands. In medieval times, gilt edges were also sometimes
impressed with patterned designs, which is a cool technique called gauffering. Because in these times books were often stored
with the fore-edges displayed outwards, it was actually one of the ways that different
volumes were differentiated from each other. Marbling of page edges is another beautiful
way of decorating page edges, and it can be found on even some of the driest books from
the turn of the century – this pretty one here is actually a French manufacturing dictionary. I’ve experimented a little in making my own hidden fore-edge paintings,
where you can only see the design when the pages are fanned out because the rest of the
time they are hidden under the gilt edges. This book here is Rudyard Kipling’s Kim,
from Cornell University. But today’s video is really about more recent
books, because recent advances in digital printing technology have meant that printers
can now economically print large runs of multi-coloured images along the head, foot and fore-edge
of books, which finally puts them within reach of the average collector. So, I’ve picked a few of the more interesting
designs out of my shelves to show you today. This first one here is Box of Demons by Daniel
Whelan – this one is a fun children’s book about a young boy trying to send a box
of mischievous demons back to hell. The black-sprayed page edges are held closed
by a mock clasp, and it has a hidden pop-up cover under the front boards. Next we have Song of Sorrow by Melinda Salisbury,
sequel to State of Sorrow – a high fantasy young adult novel about a land in mourning. This beautiful detailed sprayed edge is a
Waterstones exclusive, which I’ll include a link to below as there are still a few copies
available. The lightning bolt design is from the latest
in Maz Evans’ humorous children’s fantasy series Who Let the Gods Out. These adventures feature slapstick versions
of the Greek Gods and lots of comic one-liners. A limited run of first printings for the books
in this series featured the same design with different coloured page edges for each book. These gorgeous painted beetles are from the
first print run of Beetle Boy by MG Leonard. This is a fun middle grade novel that also
teaches you some interesting beetle facts along the way. Waterstones also printed a limited number
of matching edges for the later books in the trilogy. These double helix designs feature on Emily
Suvada’s dystopian science fiction trilogy about gene hacking, This Mortal Coil. The story does feature a few typical YA tropes,
with an angsty protagonist and a bit of an instalove triangle, but the science is addressed
accessibly, which is nice in a post-apocalytpic novel, and the story works well as an atmospheric
thriller. This gorgeous edge painting is from the Waterstones
exclusive edition of Malamander by Thomas Taylor. This is a fun middle grade fantasy, with lots
of creative wordplay and a wonderfully eerie seaside setting. An interesting tidbit for you is that the
author is also the illustrator who painted the cover art for the first edition of Harry
Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. He has done the interior artwork for Malamander
as well, although the cover design is by a different artist. This one with the orange and black stripes
is meant to look like the body of a bee, as it’s for the English translation of Norwegian
author Maja Lunde’s The History of Bees. This novel is an epic narrative that follows
three generations of beekeepers against the backdrop of a global crisis that arises as
our population of pollinators collapses. It’s quite a slow read, and rather grim,
but the symbolism of the relationship between the parents and their sons, and the earth
and its bees is clever and interesting if you like literary fiction. Next up we have The Chalk Man by CJ Tudor,
which had a limited print run of these chalk figures that actually run around the whole
book block, including the spine instead of a title, so it looks pretty cool on the shelf. This book is a thriller set in small town
England, and the chalk men are initially used by a group of kids as part of a secret code,
until they are co-opted by a murderer. This rainbow edge for Birthday by Meredith
Russo represents an lgbt-coloured birthday candle, as the book traverses six different
birthdays in the lives of two small town friends who were born on the same day – one of whom
is transgender. All the first print runs for this edition
have this design. Next of course we have the Harry Potter house
editions, which have the house colours sprayed around the edges and the scarf design down
the fore-edge. Also, before anyone asks about Hufflepuff,
I am buying one house for each book in the series, so obviously I will be getting the
Hufflepuff design for Goblet of Fire. I Am Number 4 is the first in Pittacus Lore’s
Lorien Legacies series of paranormal young adult thrillers – and all of the first print
runs for the UK hardbacks featured the title sprayed across the fore-edge. The sequel series has a matching ‘Lorien
Returns’ sprayed on it as well. The books have foiled titles under the dust
jacket, but for some reason my edition seems to have the title printed on upside down. This next one we have is Vox which is a dystopian
set in a future America where women have been silenced by having the number of words they
can speak rationed to 100 per day. It’s obviously not a particularly realistic
future, but the set-up is really about creating an opportunity for the author to explore the
importance of language in ensuring political and personal freedom, which was for me the
most interesting aspect of the book. This hardback is the Goldsboro limited edition,
but I’ve seen a paperback edition with a similar design on edges floating around as
well. This book here with the creepy ‘one more
soul’ stenciled on the fore-edge is The Edge of Everything by Jeff Giles. It’s a YA urban fantasy romance thriller
starring a supernatural bounty hunter who harvests souls, hence the tag line. It’s the first half of a duology but Bloomsbury
did not print a matching hardcover for the second book, which – argh – is so annoying! This gorgeous design is on A Thousand Nights
by EK Johnston, and the whole book design is really stunning. As well as the gold stenciling on all the
edges, the book has a pretty die cut dust jacket which you can also take off to reveal
this glorious hidden cover. It even has patterned endpapers. It’s so pretty. The book is an inventive reimagining of 1001
Nights, set in a beautiful desert kingdom, with the action spurred forward by fierce
love between two sisters. The last one from this pile is Unsheltered
by Barbara Kingsolver. The patterned fore-edge actually continues
the wallpaper from the dust jacket. This novel is another literary fiction that
weaves together stories from past and present of two families living in the same house in
New Jersey as they navigate cultural shifts – one a science teacher excited by Darwin’s
new theory of evolution, and the other a family split by current political divides. It’s a little didactic and I found it hard
to escape the feeling that I was being lectured to, but I was quite drawn to the use of place
as character. Now, this next stack of books are from the
Reimagined Classics series – I’ll add a link to a more in-depth review of these
above, as I think they are really well-done. So here I’m just going to high-light the
edge treatments. Unfortunately, the most recent three books
have been a little plain, but the first printings of the earlier volumes are exquisite. The Wizard of Oz uses geometric shapes that
are emblematic of the illustrator’s style along the edges. (I was kind of hoping it was a code actually,
but it appears it’s mainly decorative.) Pride and Prejudice has really striking orange
edges with a pretty floral pattern all around the external edges. Poe’s stories features a suitably creepy
silver on black which appears to have Poe’s signature and a sketch of his face hidden
under ink splotches. Grimm’s Tales features a rhyme from Sleeping
Beauty, reading ‘Mirror, Mirror, here I stand, who is the fairest in the land?” And my favourite, Alice in Wonderland, has
three famous phrases from the book, with ‘We’re All Mad Here’, “Who in the world am I? Now that’s a great question.” And, of course, “Off With Her Head!”. A
quick post-script here with Something to Live For by Richard Roper which just arrived in
my mail today, which has this cool train track on page edges. Obviously I haven’t read this one yet, but
it’s supposed to be a contemporary fiction about the lies we tell ourselves to fit in,
and the risk of falling through the cracks of life
I hope you’ve enjoyed this tour – and if you’re someone who loves finding this
sort of extra artwork on books, I’ll add a link below to a page which has a really
long list of these and other interesting treatments, along with links on where to find them if
you can. As well as a preorder link for this cool limited
edition of Rainbow Rowell’s Wayward son which has patterned edges to match Baz’s
suit, because it is selling out fast! I’d love for you to share your own favourites
in the comments, whether they are ones I’ve covered here, or if you have some other hidden
gems in your own libraries. Thanks for watching, and I look forward to
next time! Bye!

11 thoughts on “Beautiful Sprayed Edges | Decorative, stencilled & painted book edge treatments

  1. Could you make a review of those Harry Potter House editions? I'm particularly interested in paper quality and if the spine is sewn or glued?

  2. Hello. I've been a book collector all my life and though in the past I have appreciated "pretty" books its just recently that I've really begun to collect a few books initially at least because of their design. Living in Canada we get the North American editions of books which tend to be rather … um …. pedestrian at times. (Dull!!!). Thanks to the magic of Book Tube however I am now aware of the often incredible and beautiful editions of books that I want to add to my library in all their glorious magnificence. I know we're not suppose to judge a book by its cover … or endpapers … or spine … or the map inside …. or it's illustrations …. ahem! …. but … So now I've broadened my horizons and diminished my bank account even further just to add the "pretties" to my shelves when I can. I'm really enjoying your channel here and it's given me an intro to books that I might not have otherwise known about. In short … I'm here drooling on my keyboard!!! Dare I ask for a view of your entire collection of books sometime just because I love seeing other peoples libraries?? Libraries = happy place. Thanks for sharing your treasures and all the research this must entail. Cheers!

  3. Amazing video as always! Can you do a video about beautiful books inside and out? Like books which in your opinion are both five stars reads + beautifully designed??

  4. If you are looking for these editions (or would like to see more), details are here: http://bit.ly/SprayedEdges 😘

  5. How do you find specific editions of books? I searched for that Chalk Man edition on ebay using the isbn, but the sellers just use stock photos so can't see if it's the one with the page edges or not

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