Penguin have just released 5 'Designer Classics', books with covers by artists and designers encased in shiny plastic boxes. Sam Taylor-Wood has covered Tender is the Night, Paul Smith did Lady Chatterley's Lover, Madame Bovary was designed by Manolo Blahnik, Crime and Punishment by Fuel and The Idiot by Ron Arad. They are all jolly handsome with my favourites being the embroidered cover of Lady Chatterley's Lover and the constructivist effort for Crime and Punishment. Arad's promised much but is a little disappointing. The plastic case has a lens which distorts the book to make it look like it's floating and pyramidal but unfortunately it's not quite robust enough as our copy came in with the plastic cracked in the corner thus rendering it totally bloody worthless. Also, the 'protective' cardboard box it comes in was crudely sellotaped up at the edges increasing, if that's possible, it's utter worthlessness.
These are limited editions that retail at £100 each. Not only the Arad but the Fuel came in with a small flaw too. So, a word to Penguin, if you're going to go to the effort of commissioning these things, make them exclusive and charge a premium maybe you should make sure the person in charge of packing them up at the warehouse doesn't have two left arms. Or actually gives a damn.