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Jamrach’s Menagerie by Carol Birch – Design Deja Vu

Just an observation while reading about the runners-up for the 2011 Booker Prize (congratulations Julian Barnes) – is it just me, or does the paperback version of Carol Birch’s book Jamrach’s Menagerie bear an uncanny resemblance to David Mitchell’s Cloud Atlas?

I suppose there are trends in cover design and only so many combinations of colors and layouts and shapes etcetera – but these do seem awfully close, to me. Anybody else notice that?

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Beth Carswell

About Beth Carswell

I've been reading, selling, researching, loving and writing about books with AbeBooks since 2000.

3 Responses to “Jamrach’s Menagerie by Carol Birch – Design Deja Vu”

  1. Well I know that she had to change the cover because WH Smith asked her too. Also, we just wrote a song about the book when Carol came into our local bookshop. If anyone fancies having a listen, in some way it will give you a taster for the book. http://vimeo.com/30924451

  2. Weird, I actually googled this because I saw the book on the shelves at my local bookstore and immediately snatched it up to see if I could find the design information, because it looks EXACTLY like the cover of Jessica Au’s Cargo.


    That being said I know nothing about design and copyright or any of that stuff and haven’t been able to find out yet from my brief googling frenzy who designed Jamrach’s Menagerie – for all I know it’s the same person or a regular practise in the book industry! Or they just had similar inspirations. But yeah, I think we can confirm that Cloud Atlas + Cargo = Jamrach’s Menagerie?

  3. Yes! I noticed exactly this – with pique, being a big fan of David Mitchell’s work and anything closely associated!

    But that’s book design for you: I work at Waterstone’s and if you look at (what were) the 3for2 tables, which is a pretty good cross-section of recently published mainstream fiction, you can group into just 3 or 4 categories the design concepts being used. I can’t imagine the designer of Cloud Atlas would be terribly bothered. It’s the nature of commercial (or any) art, isn’t it?

    I still think the David Mitchell cover is the better design. The other’s not bad work but the first book has the better use of typefaces.