It's not merely that I have a soft spot for those underselling books that, having been given a fair chance on our shelves, are now to be banished to the dusty gloom of publishers' warehouses. I'll occasionally feel a twinge of remorse--I should've tried harder to convince people of your worth, poor, abandoned Marcel Schwob!--but you can get pretty callous in this business.
The hardness of my heart notwithstanding, what I intend to write about today are publisher's colophons, which are the first and quickest means I have of whittling down these ever-growing piles of books labelled with that kiss of death: TO BE RETURNED. When I find our returns sorting table creaking under the weight of hundreds of books that have failed to catch enough readers' eyes to stave off damnation for at least another few months, my quickest recourse is to roll up my sleeves and begin the sad process by plucking books from the piles by sight. To do this, I scan the spines for distinctive colophons.
But! Wait! Please don't assume I provide the following logos simply because they are instantly identifiable and save me a few minutes when I'm playing book undertaker. A colophon is not necessarily a black spot signaling doom. Those below are a few that I find charming, distinctive, or seminal.