Collect ‘Em All: 6 Paperback Series Worth Fetishizing

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We’ve been taught it’s wrong to judge a book by its cover. But surely we can all agree that it’s OK to covet a book for its cover? Or, better yet, to drool over a series of colorful spines? The recent release of Penguin’s Clothbound Classics series reminded everyone of the pleasures of a whole row of shelf candy, but what if your tastes run to smart paperback design (and cheaper prices)? After the jump you’ll find a gallery of our favorite paperback series that look as good on the shelf as they feel to read.

Melville House’s Art of the Novella

Melville House began this as a tribute to the neglected art of the novella, and they’ve continued to publish classics of the genre with their distinctive Pantone covers. They now have a companion series of contemporary novellas as well, if James and Fitzgerald aren’t your thing. At $10 a pop, you can’t really go wrong.

New Directions’ Pearl Series

Following Melville House’s lead, fellow indie New Directions has launched these lovely little books, with titles by Javier Marías, Yukio Mishima, Garcia Lorca, and Tenessee Williams. The set is designed by Rodrigo Corral — of Oscar Wao fame.

Wallpaper City Guides

Want to know exactly where to stay and shop in Prague while maintaining your fabulousness and avoiding the Lonely Planet proles? Or at least feel like you could? Wallpaper’s collaboration with Phaidon is for you.

33 1/3

This by-now-venerable series is as visually bright as it gets — and setting the standard for long-form music writing is not bad, either. Each title focuses on a single album.

Penguin Great Ideas

Neatly packaged and cleverly selected, Penguin displays its history of brilliant paperback design here. The choice of titles can seem a little eclectic, but the effect of all of them together is anything but.

New York Review of Books Classics

The grandaddy of classy reissues, NYRB’s catalogue was recently called “literary fetish objects” by Forbes. And they are. Solid color spines and terrific titles plucked from semi-obscurity.