The best Myanmar Bookshelf

Myanmar's best bookcase

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" It is one of the best bookstores in Yangon offering English publications.

Books covers create their own artwork

Ma Thidar Cho takes a close look among the many bookstores on Pansodan Road in Yangon. Designed on tarpaulins, all kinds of textbooks are waiting to attract the passers-by's interest. Thidar Cho's interest is drawn by an England based photobook with blank covers and a photograph with darkglass. She does not hesitate to buy it.

"I can' t really enjoy reading English but I keep them under the different titles on my bookshelf because I really enjoy the envelopes," she says about her passion for her work. "Sometimes I buy them for their design or their clean weaves. I' m keeping the ledgers even though I' m not reading them.

When I go to a bookstore and see such a wide range of titles, I don't know what to do. Zaw Mong has been designing covers for 14 years. Though he prefers a neat, easy going look, the most important thing for him is that the front page covers exactly match the contents of the album.

"In bookstores, the bookshelves are full of them, so it's pretty hard to get people's interest.... Your story should be appealing and distinctive and you shouldn't confuse the album just to show how clever you are as a designer," says the painter, who creates five to six albums a months, often with illustration and graphic art.

"Even if I've already purchased a copy, I usually buy other issues of it if I like the artwork design; the same volume, but with a different artwork gives a different impressio. Even the artwork says something about the tastes of the designer from that time," he says.

Seik Ku Cho Cho Publishing's proprietor also sees the value, both aesthetically and financially, in the publication of works with appealing artwork-design. Whilst different publisher may put different efforts into the front pages of the titles they release, in general, if a title is considered a possible bestseller, more work will go into the frontpage.

"If it is certainly a bestseller, the publishing house will pay more attention than ever to the covers to show its generous character to its readership. A number of ledgers are distributed in many issues by different publishing houses, so they try to differentiate between the issues of the others," says San Oo.

Over the past few years, publishing houses have had more flexibility in designing better envelopes through a wider choice of papers and more experiments with spot colors such as brilliant oranges, golds, sterling silver notes and pl plum. "I' ve noted that a number of custom-made textbooks have been released in the past.

I' ve even found some stamped printed cover art that appeared over 40 years ago," says the publishing house, whose own company produces about 50 titles a year. The majority of envelopes have either a hand-drawn artwork or a kind of graphics artwork, with artists' artwork costs at least K50,000. "Usually we use illustrative envelopes for novel and fiction," U San Oo says, "but graphical artwork is appropriate for other classes, and you can get it for about 20,000 to 30,000 K," heds.

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