I wonder if we could collect some beautiful covers of interesting old books about computers?
Phooky posted this one:
And the book (140 pages) is available at the Internet Archive:
Computer System Organization (The B5700/B6700 series) by Elliott I. Organick
(Back in the day of Google+, I recall we had a community called Computer History Book Club, with two sections: old books about computers, and books about old computers. But that wasn’t about beautiful covers!)
Here are two of my all-time favorites, which I also happen to own:
The first one isn’t exactly a book, but a self-laudatory IBM brochure from 1976, “produced by the editors and staff of Think, the IBM employee magazine, in collaboration with Will Hopkins as art director”. The cover design, however, in which we are especially interested here, is by Herb Lubalin. What makes this outstanding is this transition from Space/Atomic Age to Computer Age, which is captured perfectly by the minimalist design. This goes perfectly with the title, “It Was to Have Been the Nuclear Age. It Became … the Computer Age.”.
Image: CHM. Catalog entry and PDF download: https://www.computerhistory.org/brochures/doc-4372956dd1eb0/
The second one is a third party manual to one of my all-time favorite computers, I will never own, “The IBM 5100 Portable Computer. A Comprehensive Guide for Users and Programmers” by Harry Katzan, Jr (1977). On first sight, it doesn’t offer any outstanding features, besides the go-to Vasarely-style Op Art, which became quite common. It really is the level of sophistication, the shades of 1970’s beige, the custom typography, a slight metallic shine of the bronze tones, which renders this a prime example of this era.
(Image source: lazy iPhone photo, sorry for the shadow on the lower right.)
Not a book cover, more a footnote to the above:
IBM had a bit of a thing with this space age / atomic age / computer age cross-over. Here’s a lapel pin, I guess, by IBM France. While this looks much older in its more conservative interpretation of the theme, we may actually tell by the logo that this is post-1972 (probably even from the 1980s):
Wow, my copy looks nothing like that - it’s the mostly red/white educational version that Prentice Hall put out. Now I haz the sadz.
Just returned to this thread because of a mention nearby
and I thought we must surely have more op-art to share.
Quick starter, then, Hord’s Parallel Supercomputing in MIMD Architectures:
Or This Cybernetic World from 1973 as seen at Book Worship:
(There might be more finds on that site.)
How about the cover design of Computer magazine? (It’s not a book!)
This is nice but not quite beautiful to me - Computers, by Dodd, as seen on Flickr.
There’s a collection of 90’s (or maybe 80’s) covers here but they don’t quite hit the spot with me. A couple stand out:
(Foley and van Dam)
(Tanenbaum’s Structured Computer Organisation)
Most 70s book covers are good. I think photos on the cover don’t count.
From my PDFs, I recently found
2 more, I just found. A funny one
2nd one by Roderich Gorny. I like the 70s fonts.
Mermac Manual, 1971 IBM/360
I like graphics with clear geometric shapes best. But this is also nice:
This reminded me of a Personal Computer World cover:
(I misremembered this: I thought the “patient” was the Newbrain computer… but I wasn’t completely off, as the Newbrain was reviewed in this issue.)
Oh, thanks for those! Some excellent covers. Here they are in an unexpected context. And here are some picks.
It turns out my most memorable BYTE cover wasn’t BYTE at all, but the UK magazine Practical Computing:
1980s Vintage Computers - Practical Computing Magazine Covers from SDFeu
For some reason I really like the cover of Loeliger’s " Threaded Interpretive Languages: Their Design and Implementation:"
I bought a couple of his full size prints (the TIL print is also one of Robert’s). I’d love to know how much influence Robert’s prints had on Byte circulation.
I feel they gave a ‘Athoritive’ feel to the magazine on computing in general
rather than PC or MAC ad magazine that it later became.
»Einführung in die Datenverarbeitung« is in my bookshelf since 1976.
The second one has a cassette.
Very visionary: chapter 1 : Heating costs: are you paying too much?
(Just to note: I believe it’s ideal if we can maintain this place as a haven out of time, where there are no current affairs and there is no commentary on things that happened in the last ten or fifteen years. Very many other places where we can do that, if we wish to.)
1989 East German book for the Robotron KC 85 series (BASIC). Cover software called “Flaeche” (square) by Silke Gutzer (maybe the author’s wife or daughter).
Also about music and fractals.
Another nice book cover is Your First BASIC program by Rodnay Zaks (also available in other languages)