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Juniper Books' Classic Cookbooks set ($250) All photos courtesy of Thatcher Wine

Books That Double as Art

Go ahead, says Boulder-based Juniper Books: Judge a book by its cover.

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“If Jane Austen were alive, I’m pretty sure she’d want her books bound in pink leather,” says Thatcher Wine, owner and chief library designer of Boulder’s Juniper Books. It’s the kind of comment you’d expect from a guy who spends his working hours dreaming up ways to make books look as good on the shelf as they are to read.

thatcher-wine
Thatcher Wine.

When Wine started Juniper Books in 2001, he mostly collected and resold rare hardcover editions of classics. It didn’t take long for Wine—a literary buff with a knack for design—to realize there might be a market for new books that double as art installations. So he started selling classic collections with cohesive covers that tap into the personalities of the works and their authors. “When we design the jackets, we’re thinking about the content, the author, the space they’ll be in, how they’ll look on the shelves, and the reader,” Wine says. “They all come together.” Take the 12-volume set of Charles Dickens’ novels ($450), clad in covers whose spines, lined up together, show a period etching of Dickens with his name in a beautiful 19th-century typeface.

In addition to offering ready-made sets (classics by icons such as Ernest Hemingway and the Brontë sisters), Juniper Books accepts commissions. Wine’s business is split roughly down the middle between orders from individuals and design firms. So it’s not just book nerds who make up his clientele: Among his most notable customers is French designer Philippe Starck, who commissioned Wine to outfit a Miami library with 100 feet of sleek white books.

For the rest of us, Juniper Books—which made O, The Oprah Magazine’s coveted annual list of the top gifts nationwide this holiday season—has recently expanded its offerings. You can now pick up Wine’s versions of modern-day pop-culture hit series, like The Hunger Games ($99) and Game of Thrones ($250), and curated sets such as Classic Cookbooks ($250), which includes favorites such as Joy of Cooking and How to Cook Everything. With so much to choose from, we’re going to need another bookshelf. 1501 Lee Hill Road, Suite 1, Boulder, 303-946-1494

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