The books in the leather-bound ‘Signature Editions’ collection under the Barnes & Noble Collectible Classics series were published between 2011 and 2012. Although they were advertised internally through booksellers as Signature Editions, the set is also known among collectors by a variety of other names such as ‘single volume classics,’ ‘young adult classics’ and ‘mid-level classics’. These books are slightly smaller in format than the standard leatherbound classics series (measuring around 8″ x 6″) and the titles were drawn from those classic novels that are typically studied by a middle grade or young adult audience as part of a school curriculum.
The beautiful cover artwork is by brilliant lettering artist Jessica Hische, whose work you may also have seen on the Penguin Drop Caps series. (If you like her work, she has also written a design book about her work called In Progress which is quite interesting). To keep the books feeling cohesive, she chose a typeface for the author’s name that is used consistently throughout the series, used borders on the front and back covers, and the spine design follows a uniform design with custom ornamentation for each title.
“One of the things that I find the most fascinating about this project is that there isn’t a logo or barcode in sight. The books feel perfectly modern but without all the ugly business-related adornments that modern book design usually entails.”Jessica Hische, In Progress
Similar to the primary leatherbound classics series, the Signature Editions are bound in (bonded) leather, and feature raised bands on the spine, color dyed page edges, a printed design with two-color foil and detailed borders on the front and back of the hardback cover, marbled endpapers, and a silk ribbon bookmark bound in. The cover design art director for this series is Jo Obarowski with book design by Patrice Kaplan. The marbled endpaper pattern is by Julio Alcobendas.
There were 15 titles released in the Signature Editions collection, which has now been discontinued and all are out of print. The Signature series was replaced by the Flexibound Editions collection, which includes most of the same titles re-released with similar cover designs, slightly altered spines and a soft flexible cover instead of the hard leather boards used for the Signature Editions. Personally, I prefer the higher quality of the Signature editions over the Flexibound editions, but they mix and match perfectly well on a shelf and new titles will only be available in the Flexibound format going forward.
List of titles in the Signature Editions collection
“Curiouser and curiouser!” cried Alice.Lewis Carroll, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland & Through the Looking-Glass
by Lewis Carroll, illustrated by John Tenniel
Barnes & Noble/Sterling (2012), 9781435142886
240p. 5.80(w) x 8.40(h) x 1.00(d). OP$12.
→ OOP. Check availability at Amazon | Abes
If he has a conscience he will suffer for his mistake. That will be his punishment – as well as the prison.Fyodor Dostoevsky, Crime and Punishment
If it were I who was to be always young, and the picture that was to grow old! For that, for that, I would give everything!Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray
You are my creator, but I am your master – obey!Mary Shelley, Frankenstein
Listen to them the children of the night. What music they make!Bram Stoker, Dracula
It’s lovely to live on a raft.Mark Twain, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
Tom was a glittering hero once more… There were some that believed he would be President, yet, if he escaped hanging.Mark Twain, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer
Now, I return to this young fellow. And the communication I have got to make is, that he has great expectations.Charles Dickens, Great Expectations
The scarlet letter was her passport into regions where other women dared not tread.Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter
It is in vain to say human beings ought to be satisfied with tranquility: they must have action; and they will make it if they cannot find it.Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre
Be with me always – take any form – drive me mad! Only do not leave me in this abyss, where I cannot find you!Emily Brontë, Wuthering Heights
The best of us have a spice of perversity in us, especially when we are young and in love.Louisa May Alcott, Little Women
It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice