There are probably not many publishers in the world who would have the guts to bring out a book with an empty cover. What ‘empty’ means here is: no lettering (usually a requirement) and no pictures (likewise). No, what we get here is nothing more than a bar code and a publisher’s logo, on – to make things worse – a glossless kind of card in a pale, indeterminate Sahara colour.
Young publishing house Nieuw Amsterdam did not shrink from the experiment. Evidently it relied on the power of a couple of tried and tested mechanisms for making people inquisitive.
Mechanism 1: go against what is usual.
Mechanism 2: keep quiet about your intentions.
Mechanism 3: plant questions in people’s minds.
In any event, the panel’s attention was caught.
A laser engraver was used to cut the title NIEUWSGIERIGHEID (in rough seriffed capitals) into the fore-edge of the book block – so, after all, it does have a title somewhere on the outsdie!
And then everything falls into place.
The empty cover turns out to be the wrapping for an entertaining and richly illustrated treatise about an all too human trait: the need to know. The book is thus an original and extraordinary example of an intertwining of content and form.