“Read a lot. Expect something big, something exalting or deepening from a book…reading is an education of the heart. It enlarges your sense of human possibility, of what human nature is, of what happens in the world.”

..said Susan Sontag.

We couldn’t agree more. Books matter. They’ve always mattered.

And coffee table books - wonderful, weighty, unashamedly analogue coffee table books - are becoming increasingly popular as powerful communication tools.

Commissioning a bespoke coffee table book says much about you personally, or your company, or luxury brand. If bespoke creativity, highest quality craftsmanship, authority, impact, and history, are important to you, custom books deliver an experience like no other.

They are the perfect platform to display values and beliefs in an unforgettable format. Typically, large format and visually arresting, coffee table books’ ‘high art’ aesthetic and evocative vocabulary is a powerful addition to any luxury brand’s marketing toolbox.

We felt so passionately about it, we set up our own venture - SO Books – in conjunction with our longstanding design partners SO Creative several years ago, creating, designing, writing and printing coffee table books.

We wanted to create luxury coffee table books that elevated, that were immersive experiences, that stimulated the senses – but also the mind.

Bespoke books that were always more than corporate throwaways, sales force indulgences, or interior décor props.

Books beyond browsing

They can be many things. Yes, of course some use them as intelligence or culture signifiers, but this is to misunderstand their power.

They can be sources of information, gateways to new worlds, conversation starters, expressions of personality, celebrators of history, memories, of lives.

Visually stunning, coffee table books are known for their imaginative, sometimes breath-taking, design, photography, and illustrations.  It’s something we understand well

They can be educational. Combining history and information, the past, present and future, they are a strong tool in the corporate marketing tool box . Our clients at Bombardier Private Aviation understood this perfectly.

They can be conversation starters. Their very size makes for a shared experience Their unusual pictures and engaging copy content can kickstart discussions with people.

They can be bespoke private commissions – given as cherished gifts. They are thoughtful, highly personalised, and appreciated by anyone who loves beauty. To honour a life well-lived, business or personal success, a special birthday, to mark a celebration or milestone achievement.  These custom books are handled with extra discretion and care by our small team.

They can express character, taste and personality: the canvas is wide indeed. Coffee table books have scale, stature, the room to explore nuance and range. Luxury brands, and of course people, are complex and a carefully crafted bespoke book is an ideal way of conveying emotional and rational qualities.

Clearly, the tactile experience. They are not a screen. Pages must be turned, ink and glue can be smelled, binding touched, weight felt, cardboard engineering applauded,  unusual front cover materials marvelled at.  They can be true conveyors of luxury.

Boxes can be impressive scene setters: they can be any size or format, made from any material, from cardboard, wood, or metal, glass to  acrylic or resin. Previous projects have even included the use of 5,000 year old fossilised black oak, shagreen, mother of pearl, real gold and even stone.

They can be unparalleled unforgettable sales tools. The medium is the message, as McLuhan said, and custom books stand out. They raise the bar and we have created many.

Coffee table books are cool

Books are apparently having a moment. (Well, another moment. The year 1454 was pretty big when Gutenberg got going).

Apart from vinyl’s comeback, the media is reporting analogue trends in film cameras, letters and postcards, magazines, pens, stationery and collecting things.

And now a new trend, coming from TikTok last year, has been noted: ‘Bookshelf Wealth’. It is an interior design trend focused on the aesthetic of bookshelves.

The emphasis is on read, not just displayed, books. The view should be of shelves filled with books the owner has actually read. Think politician interview back drops at home during the not so heady Covid days.

Custom books should reflect the owner's interests and tastes, usually a mix of genres, styles, and formats. Relaxed and slightly messy is good rather than perfectly colour coordinated.  There is a potential association with wealth and class. If you own large bookshelves, you need space and money.

Our own belief is that real wealth lies in the wisdom gained from reading per se. Not simply parading the number of beautiful books on shelves.

For time immemorial, books have been life-giving and shown us a sense of ourselves in the world. This is our way of being a part of it.

Because we are custom book designers who create bespoke books

SO Books.  It teams us with our colleagues at SO Creative Studio, in a shared passion for all things luxury, including custom coffee table books.  SO Books is where we copywrite, design, produce and print luxury coffee table books.



Our book design service offers seamless end-to-end book making services. From initial strategy, research and content creation right through to book design, printing and fulfilment.

We have over 25 years’ experience working with global luxury brands across a wonderfully diverse range of market sectors. From art galleries, museums, architecture, property and interiors through to jewellery, B2B professional services, private investors and private family businesses including royalty.

Commissioning a bespoke coffee table book is the perfect opportunity for luxury brands and individuals to present valuable insights about their inspirations, achievements and legacy. And the perfect platform to display a brand’s personality, brand value and beliefs in an unforgettable format.

To learn more about our approach, the service we offer, printing using sustainable print solutions, multi-language and transcreation opportunities – see here.

Or get in touch if you want your luxury brand marketing to deliver an emotion unlike anything else.

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