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Jean Giono. Colline. Club du meilleur livre, 1953

“Le Club du Meilleur Livre, where Massin worked from 1952, was one of several book clubs that helped meet the demand for books after the years of Nazi occupation and a decade before television. Club members were offered a choice of one of four books each month –classics, translations and out-of-print works that reflected the enthusiasms of the publishers. The books did not have to compete for attention on bookshop shelves so there was no need for eye-catching jackets. Each volume could be a coherent, totally designed object, its designer responsible for every aspect of its production, not just typeface and layout. As published by the clubs, the book became a “livre objet”, described by Massin as akin to an art work, a sculpture, a vase, a piece of furniture and with  a life independent of its textual content. The book was no longer this rectangular parallelepiped as thick and inert as a brick, but something living; while printing was usually thought of as existing on the flat surface, we made a point of the books beeing three-dimensional. This object was not just to be seen, but handled.”

 

Richard Hollis. Writings about graphic design. London: Occasional Papers, 2012 (p. 70)