Just a progress update on Easy On The Eye Books. Covered is continuing to get some great feedback, and orders have come from around the globe – from South America, The USA, all over Europe and Japan. Just as we were getting into our stride and not long after Covered was delivered, our print suppliers changed company name and then disappeared altogether a few weeks later, leaving just a moribund website (which one assumes will vanish when the next bill becomes due) and a few phone numbers which are never answered. This was a blow, though it seems some unlucky customers were left high and dry having parted with money for print when the company went under. So compared to them we had a lucky escape.
Since then we’ve been working hard to source a new printer for the books and have now done so. It was not easy as we prefer to print in Europe.
With this major headache out of the way final scanning work on the first of the Japanese Singles books could be completed and this book will go into production shortly. It’s certainly proving to be a visual sensory overload in many ways, page after page of great images. Each sleeve is annotated with the artist, track and record label information. Someone was looking at the material recently and wondered what the value of all the singles in the book would be today; I might find an old cigarette packet somewhere (we have some fifties ones somewhere for just this sort of task) and try to work out a rough estimate.
We will be putting some more sample pages up here soon but in the meantime enjoy another half dozen examples from bands including The Amboy Dukes, The Foundations and Fever Tree. Check our last progress report on this title here (with more examples).

japanese picture sleeve singles The Amboy Dukes, The Foundations, Fever Tree

Japanese sleeves

runaways japanese single starstruck art of japanese single sleeve

The Runaways - Little Sister

Final layout work on the Art Of Japanese Singles title is now going on. At last. The layout will feature four main sleeves per page, along with one or two smaller back-up sleeves for comparison in with the accompanying text. I must say dong the work has rekindled my own interest in the genre and I’ve not been able to resist picking up a few more covers along the way. I even found a couple on Oxfam in Huddersfield the other week at an affordable price (very unlike Oxfam! They’ve had a couple of Tracey Thorn 12″ singles in our local shop for a tenner each since last year, and they’re now getting so dog-eared even if they do drop the price to a sensible level they’ll be too scuffed to buy). There was always something very exotic about these Japanese sleeves which made them a must for collectors. I can’t be the only one who remembers trips to the legendary Flyover Records at Hammersmith to gaze at the racks full of these imports.

Pac Man Fever

Pac Man Fever

The book is being put together using InDesign – as a graduate of the Pagemaker school I was pushed towards this at an early stage (Adobe make great software but treat their loyal customers really badly at times) – and never got on with Quark at all. I’ve always found InDesign very stable and flexible for handling multi-page projects like this which contain a lot of linked images – 1,000 or more of them in this case.

It’s also been quite a logistical challenge just naming the files. Macs give you a lot of freedom to name image files how you like but in this case all the source archive material was carefully filed in music genres. Each genre section was given a number, and each page a number within that section, then every sleeve a number on that page. So I decided with the scanning work to reference each image using those original numbers rather than try to use artist and title. I also had to organise the scanning work precisely.

Beatles Can't Buy Me Love  japanese single starstruck art of japanese single sleeve

Beatles Can't Buy Me Love

To this end I generated a sample page layout with blank boxes, printed a couple of hundred out and worked through these writing in image reference numbers, rearranging and shuffling them about, swopping images etc., until the final book worked. This then provided an exact guide for scanning. It’s almost the reverse of how Covered book was done, where we had several thousand scans to juggle. As most of this initial layout stage was done some time back it’s been a case of spending a few days refamiliarising myself with the material. I must admit there was a couple of hours of growing panic when two whole sections seemed to be missing but happily it turned out they were in with the others, and had just lost their sticky notes, so frantic scouring of the office shelves could cease!

For now, I’ll add another trio of groovy examples and then get back down to work.