Friday, February 25, 2011

the 52 Suburbs book cover and other news

I was thinking it would be nice for you to spy the 52 Suburbs book for the first time by yourself
in the inky aisles of your favourite bookshop. But who was I kidding? I can't wait until May 1 when
the book is out.

So here it is! What you can't see is that the numbers are actually cut out and the front cover 

flaps open to reveal the full image behind it. A little like you're looking through a camera lens.
By the way, there's no thin black line around the edge, that's just because it would fade into
the white background otherwise.

Aside from the book cover there was a lot of discussion about book size. Large, small, thin, fat.

Where we ended up really works I reckon. It's a smallish (19cm wide by 16.5cm deep) but chunky
book - 528 pages!

I'm also really happy with the print quality. The colours pop off the page and it just feels really

lush and rich.

All in all very exciting. (By the way, if you feel so inclined you can pre-order from the UNSW Press

website now at Not only will you be assured
a copy on May 1, your early-birdness will also be rewarded with a 20% discount.)

Meanwhile, I'm head down working on the exhibition preparations for the May 14 launch at the Museum

of Sydney. An exhibition space is an entirely different beast to a book so it's spinning my head a
little. But I'm loving it all the same. In fact, I still kind of have to pinch myself when I think back to
when I began the project. It was just something I had to do but I certainly never expected it to 
blossom to the degree it has. 

Last piece of exciting news - before Christmas I was asked by the State Library of NSW for permission
to archive the blog 'in perpetuity'. Which means they'll keep updating the technology as necessary 
to ensure the blog is accessible to people forever. It is quite amazing to think of those living in 
the year 3010 or 5010 being able to check out 52 Sydney suburbs as they were in 2009/2010!

I may just have to go and fix myself a little tipple to celebrate. Cheers!


  1. Wow!!! Totally awesome cover!!!

  2. [from jen] Congratulations on all fronts, Louise. It's been so awesome to see your dream grow wings. Have you decided on an RRP for the book? Can't wait to get my hands on a copy on May 1.

  3. Jodie - So glad you like it. All credit to the lovely Di Quick from UNSW Press for her inspired design.

    Jen - Thanks so much - and yes, the book RRP is AU$39.95. That's part of the reason we kept the book smallish, so we could keep the price as reasonable as possible. Hope you agree?

    Louise x

  4. Louise
    Congratulations once more! This has obviously been a huge, wonderful experience for you, and I wish you all the best success withit. But guess what? You have lots of blog-readers who, like me, have come along for the ride since early on, and it's great to see how it has evolved and succeeded. It has been such a lovely, photo-filled, people-filled, celebratory ride of my home town. Fantastic cover, I'm getting a copy!

  5. At last! You must be over the moon! Love the cut-out cover very cheeky!
    Can't wait to hold one in my hands.

    Cheers Brent.

  6. Congratulations, Louise. Just look what happens when you follow your passion. It's a lesson to us all.

  7. Jamie! - Absolutely - in a way, I just feel like the facilitator of a celebration of a place called Sydney. I loved how so many people embraced it from the start and remained on the journey until the bitter end. Can you imagine how different it would have been as an offline project? But in the end, it had the best of both worlds - the people we met in the suburbs and the people who followed the blog online.

    Louise x

  8. cool will it be in all bookshops

  9. Brent! - You're another long-time traveller on the 52 Suburbs minibus! So good to hear from you and hope the foot/ankle? has mended well.

    Anon - Thank you. There's a lot of debate these days about people having unrealistic dreams. But who can criticise passion? It's a life force.

    Ellen Charge - What do they say, 'in all good bookshops'?! Not sure exactly, I'll ask the publisher and get back to you.

    Louise x

  10. congratulations! I just pre-ordered my copy :D I've been waiting for it to come out so I could buy it as a gift for my dad.

  11. congratulations ,on all your hard work and contribution to the recorded history of Sydney,
    Look forward to seeing the exhibition.
    Best wishes for book sales.

  12. just ordered it, thanks so much. I loved this blog and look forward to the book so friends and family can browse through when they are over.

  13. I don't mean to one-up all of you who have ordered a copy but I've just bought 3! One for my very-excited self and a couple of extras for gifts - I'm positive any of my Sydneysider friends will love this gorgeous book. No doubt the inside pages will even out do the fabulous front cover. Congrats Louise, I couldn't be happier for you...x

  14. Congratulations- it looks amazing.

    I will be ordering a few copies for family and friends and clients.

    Amazing to think that people will be able to see this in hundreds of years.

    Well Done

  15. Oh my goodness Louise!! I am giddy with excitement for you! I so, so wish I was in Sydney for the exhibition. Can't wait to order the book - going to pre-order right now in fact.

    ''In perpetuity'' in the State Library of NSW!! I am so excited for you...I'd be having a large tipple if I were you ; )

    Well done, it's been an absolute blast to have been on the blog ride with you. And I wish you every success in the future.

    Alison xx

  16. I wish it was bigger but I think the price is great, maybe a later deluxe edition will be larger? I'd be happy to pay more for a larger edition. Maybe something for the future.

  17. Perpetuity - how fantastic! Cover looks great Louise, all those busy weeks have paid off. Congratulations.

  18. Jess - Hope your dad loves it!

    Anon - Thanks so much.

    LMC - I like the idea of the book sitting on the kitchen table, not too precious to be flicked through by any that care to wander.

    Andy - Three! Love your enthusiasm! Thanks Andy, that's really lovely.

    Lil - Thanking you!

    Anne - Exciting indeed.

    Trent - Lovely to see your name pop up! Another long-time traveler on 52 Suburbs!

    Alison - Merci beaucoup! And yes, it was rather a large tipple in the end!

    scream4noreason - Hello again! Nice idea, a deluxe edition. Will pass that on thank you!

    Louise x

  19. Awesome Louise! Sometimes I get a strange feeling that this city just isn't right for me, and I wish that I lived someplace else. Last time I had that feeling, I came here to your blog which snapped me out of it straight away. So I can't wait to have it in hard copy!

  20. Love reading your emails. U inspire me. Congrats!!

  21. When you do something heartly (and enjoying it no matter what) it always turns into something big & beautiful. Congratulations on everything Louise!

  22. I will definitely be buying copies for myself and expats that need to be reminded of change and continuity in the suburbs. Well done, Louise :)

    Bronwyn G

  23. Thanks for sharing the cover with the blog fans. I can't wait to turn the pages.

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  25. Fantastic! I can't wait to dog-ear the pages! Thank you Louise for your work, it really is beautiful and always makes my day.

  26. Dan - I love that! So happy to provide another view of the city.

    ModFruGal - Hello again! So lovely to see some of 'early adopters' like yourself are still hanging in there!

    Anon - Thank you!

    Y - Thank you - the blog archiving is just as exciting as the book.

    Tatyana - I agree! At least give it your best shot right?

    Bronwyn - That's a good way of summing it up - 'change and continuity'. Thank you.

    Terese - That's lovely, thank you.

    J Bar - Thank you!

    Sarah - That's my dream - to have people like to look at the book so much they dog-ear it! Thanks so much.

    Louise x

  27. woohoo!!!!!

    well done its so exciting to see it in book form. I feel really emotional just for seeing it evolve in front of my eyes has been such a pleasure sharing its birth and fruition so glad you blogged it. Thankyou for that. Cant wait for my copy ;)

  28. Wonderful news. UNSW Press are great publishers, willing to take risks. They publish a variety of great books.

  29. Wow! Congratulations; all your hard work - this looks absolutely amazing!


  30. Congratulations! I've just pre-ordered. Can't wait to receive my copy in the post. Tell them to send the WA orders early so I don't have to wait too long for a first look!

  31. Go you Louise - what an amazing journey for you (and us). Well done! brought a little tear to my eye I'm so happy for you (yes, really)

  32. Looking forward to this! I will be getting a copy for myself and a copy for the library I work in.

    Congratulations on seeing your hard work presented in book form.

  33. I'll be sending one to every overseas person I know Louise. Congratulations once again.
    Love love love the cover.
    Di x

  34. objectsofwhimsy - Hello! Thank you so much, and so glad you've stuck around to see it take shape from a tiny gestational being to a full grown adult!

    Elimatta - UNSW Press do a great job I agree.

    Vanessa - Thank you!

    Megan - Will do!

    Edgie - You're too kind.

    Megan - That is so lovely I can't tell you. Thank you.

    Ashley - I LOVE the idea of the book being in a library! That's so cool, thank you.

    Di - Another long-term fan, hello! The thought of the book winging its way across the oceans is really beautiful. Thank you!

    Louise x

  35. Great news Louise ... how wonderful to think it will live on via the library as well as being available in real life soon !!!!
    Much deserved rewards for bringing us such a deeply human and exciting project... Bravo!

  36. The book looks magnificent Louise! A tribute to your creativity and tenacity.

  37. Amazing! Congratulations!

  38. Big, big congratulations. This is so fabulous!

  39. Congratulations Louise - we have been following your progress for the last few months and we are working our way back through your journeys. Your blog has inspired a flurry of photography in my family which my 9 year old daughter is very much enjoying. We are eagerly awaiting the delivery of your book!

  40. Lovely photos, but its a bit "touristy". Not as much hard work as the concept sounds, as you picked suburbs with strong cultural/ethnic lines, or architecture. Would likes to have seen some more attention paid to the "real Sydney", such as Old Guildford, Toongabie, Hebersham, Panania etc. And not just shots of grafitti at the train stations or boarded up shops. I guess however, if you showed the unseen side of Sydney, you wouldn't sell any books.

    Hope the latte's keep flowing.

  41. Sophie, Carrie, Fer de Argentina, Cathy - Many thanks!

    Dale - I love that. Love to see the 9 year old's snaps.

    Anon - I guess it's all relative. For some Sydneysiders, many of the suburbs I visited would be completely foreign. And I'm not sure how many 'tourists' would make it to Granville, Harris Park or Redfern. But what I really question is your idea of the 'real' Sydney. If I had to pick one 'real' Sydney I'd say it was the one that's growing rapidly and is extremely multicultural - the west. How more Sydney can you get?

    Still, I haven't been to those other suburbs you mentioned. Clearly there's another 52 Suburbs I need to visit!

    And by the way, I don't drink lattes. Tea is my thing. Suburban I know.


  42. Anon - You got me thinking about the split of suburbs. Just did a rough count and it goes like this - from least to most:
    • South - 4
    • City-ish - 5
    • North - 8
    • Inner West - 11
    • East - 11
    • Outer West - 13

    In other words, I spent most of my time in the outer west, the same place those suburbs you mentioned (I just checked them out) are located in. And as I said before, the 'real' Sydney to me. So I think we sort of agree maybe...

    And by the way, it was hard work. Not in the way you mean perhaps. But I bristle at the idea you might imagine this was done just on the weekends. It was like a full time job without the pay. For a year. My choice. Incredibly fulfilling, from both a creative viewpoint as well as getting to know my own city. But nonetheless hard work.

    Time for a cup of tea I think ;)


  43. Louise,
    I was very surprised to see anyone sum up your photography as 'touristy' - I cant imagine how they reached that conclusion and it really doesn't warrant a response (although here I am responding...). Cup of tea sounds like a good idea.

  44. Congratulations!

  45. Thank You Louise we have ordered a copy of your wonderful book for the University of Technology,Library.

  46. Mark - That's wonderful. I love the idea of institutions like UTS making the book accessible to people.