Published by McSweeney’s, the book is set in a future that sees humanity under the yoke of surveillance and digital monopoly – a description that feels worryingly current. The Every follows the rebellious Delaney Wells as she tries to take down the world’s biggest company from the inside.
And in a fitting accompaniment to its anti-corporate tone, the hardcover is only available in independent bookstores, which publisher Amanda Uhle describes as a way of reflecting on some of the questions posed within the novel itself.
“Personally, I was also interested in challenging some of the long-held marketing ideas connected to publishing a book,” she tells CR. “There’s a maxim that a reader has to see a cover image at least seven times before making the decision to buy it. It was fun to imagine that we could present dozens of covers instead of just one over and over, and in the process celebrate the work of artists we admire.
“Most important is adding that element of surprise or adventure to the book-buying process. So much of what all of us purchase is algorithm-driven, and offering this array of covers gives everyone – from booksellers to the media to readers – a moment to think differently, to be surprised.”
Each of the designers was given an advance copy of the book and a brief description, which meant some made brand new work and others submitted existing pieces that they felt resonated with the novel.
Ivan Brunetti’s jacket “plays on the goofy utopianism of the fictional tech company in the book”, says Sunra Thompson, art director at McSweeney’s. While Robyn O’Neil’s covers “hint at the book’s darker undercurrent”.
As well as the artist-made jackets, McSweeney’s worked with lettering artist Jessica Hische to design a logo for the book, and designer Eve Weinsheimer to create a series of what Uhle describes as “not-quite-right” colour combinations.
There’s 16 variations of the Hische logo covers, which will be used for the paperback. Anyone keen on bagging an artist cover will have to head to their local independent bookstore and track one down – which feels oddly thrilling in the era of quick Amazon purchases.
“McSweeney’s has always been a stubborn champion of beautiful book cover design,” says Thompson. “It’s part of the company’s DNA. It’s sort of a magical feeling when you come across a book that stops you in your tracks, that feels like a luxurious art object in your hands – that feeling never gets old, somehow. Books can be very beautiful objects, and beautiful objects have a tactile power that ebooks will probably never have.”