Plympton, the new literary startup that publishes fiction digitally in serialized form, is getting visual. The company, founded by former New York Times reporter Jennifer 8. Lee, has started a project called Recovering the Classics that is crowdsourcing new covers for public domain literature, then selling the updated works.
Plympton has partnered with the Harvard Bookstore and the Creative Action Network (an organization which encourages artists to support a variety of projects) on Recovering the Classics, which went live on Tuesday. Designers have already been invited to create covers for a range books and, thus far, artists have whipped up new new jackets for, among others, Moby Dick, The Wizard of Oz and Pride and Prejudice. With Tuesday's launch, the public can now create jackets for titles as well.
Including a retail component in the program, customers can log on to recoveringtheclassics.com to purchase either a print-on-demand version of the books featured, or an e-book. (Harvard is fulfilling the POD requests through its in-store Espresso Book Machine, which creates single paperbacks from digital files.)
Lee said the program addresses an issue that has cropped up around digital versions of public domain titles, namely that the original text is readily available but the corresponding cover is usually not. "We like to think of it as a new business model," Lee told PW. "And one that reimagines what a book and bookstore can be in the future: artisanal, custom, etc."