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Headlines for Contracts Book

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6 Responses

  1. A.J. Sutter says:

    My gut reaction: this sort of cover will make your book dated within a year. It’s one thing if the contents are a couple years out of synch with the real world (as inevitably they will be unless you revise annually). But for the cover to be: kiss of death. People do judge books by their covers, esp. when they consider whether to buy them. By 2013 or 2014 how many profs are going to give this a serious look in a catalogue? Assuming it’ll be reproduced large enough for the headlines to be legible. Even if you issue annual pocket parts, the book will still look like an old copy of People magazine. You might as well have it grow a mullet.

    If you must use this list, please watch for a consistent tone. “Lady Gaga Smells a Rat in Spat with Ex-Lover ” doesn’t exactly fit in with “Donald Trump Says Recession Excuses Bank Loan Deal”: one uses a technical legal term, the other Variety diction. Nor does Lady Gaga’s case fit in with “Cost Overruns in Sandra Bullock’s Lake House Contract” — the excitement level is a bit different. And the Obama item is traditional casebook material. Maybe I’m too pessimistic, but I think you may find these dissonances inevitable.

    A single graphic that suggests pop & fun would entail much less commitment about the date of the contents. It also would have an immediate visual impact (how many print ads can you describe from memory where the main image was cluttered with lots of text?). And it won’t need to be changed each time you revise the book, either.

    Given that CUP can’t keep a book as topical as one on European comparative company law, published as recently as July 2009, in print (as they informed me by a recent email), it may take a long-jump of faith to trust their marketing sense. Sorry to be so negative. But I’ve read part of your book already, and I know it deserves better.

  2. Bruce Boyden says:

    It doesn’t involve a celebrity, but on contract interpretation and IIRC parol evidence, there’s the “what is a sandwich” case a few years back that involved determining whether a burrito place qualified as a competing sandwich shop that was barred under a commercial lease agreement.

  3. A.J. Sutter says:

    An afterthought: if you must use headlines, then (i) put all of them in Variety-speak, and (ii) anonymize them, i.e., don’t refer to 50 Cent, Obama, et al. by name, but by a snazzy moniker, based on their occupation or some other attribute, e.g.: Prexy, rapper, mogul, etc., “Poet punches pugilist promoter over pact,” etc. The idea is to decontextualize them temporally, if I may be so pretentious about it, while still being entertaining. But this is still second-best to a graphic that isn’t so burdened by text.

  4. Bruce Boyden says:

    Oops, I misunderstood the purpose of this post, sorry.

  5. Lawrence Cunningham says:

    Thanks AJ for these views (and Bruce too because I’m now always in the market for such examples) and I remain eager to hear more from anyone willing to chime in.

  6. A.J. Sutter says:

    Sorry, the idea lingers on: Following up to my #3, one name it might be OK to leave clear is Lady Gaga’s, because it’s already in the Variety idiom. E.g.: “Ex-Gaga beau gaga over ex’s dough”.

    Have a happy Thanksgiving!

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