Book Article

She's Come Undone

The quality of Madonna's book packaging disgruntles booksellers and customers

Madonna's legs aren't the only things that come apart in Sex. So does its spiral binding. Nicholas Callaway, who produced the volume for Warner Books, insists, ''Qualities you see in the book have a lineage. They echo a certain tradition of bookmaking.''

Printed on Mohawk Superfine, an expensive uncoated paper, Sex was inspired by the scandalous spiral-bound 1933 photo book, Paris de Nuit, by Brassaï (a.k.a. Gyula Halasz), which celebrated the seedier side of Parisian nightlife. The Mylar wrapper, designed by Fabien Baron, was meant to suggest a pop-art ''candy bar.'' Sex's pedigree, however, hasn't mollified disgruntled booksellers and customers. ''It's really sloppily made,'' says bookstore owner Rhett Jackson of Columbia, S.C. ''I'm getting reports from all over the country about problems with packaging.'' Warner Books says it will accept returns on the ''few copies'' that have come undone but won't replace them. ''There are no more copies,'' says Warner's Nanscy Neiman. ''People can fix it themselves; this book was meant to be interactive.''

To reconstruct Sex, use pliers to pinch the spirals closed, or use the advice of Home Improvement's Tim Allen: ''Use a couple of handcuffs to hold it together.''

Originally posted Nov 06, 1992 Published in issue #143 Nov 06, 1992 Order article reprints