Why the special attention to fonts/typeface in novels?

I’ve noticed recently that some of the novels I’m reading include a page describing the typeface the book was set in. Usually contains historical details about who “invented” it and when.

I hadn’t seen (or noticed) this before–seems like a recent phenomenon. I was wondering where this “tradition” came from and if it has any legal/copyright significance?

It’s been done for many years, usually on more expensive hardcovers (rarely on paperbacks). It’s just to satisfy the various book collectors, to fill out a blank page, or just because the editor wants to do it. No legal or copyright significance.

Why is the illustrator credited?

Some of us are fascinated by fonts and typefaces: I’ve been a calligrapher since I was 13. So the artist who created the art in question–the graphic elements that make up a typeface–should properly be acknowledged when his or her work is used in a published work. I, for one, always read that bit very closely.

And no, it’s in no way a recent phenomenon: just (sadly) rare nowadays, so you probably only recently came across your first example of it.

[sub](FWIW, this has been a topic of discussion here in the past.)[/sub]

This little item is called a “colophon” and is an old tradition in the printing industry. It has no real significance, except that it generally only appears in books where the designers paid special attention to the quality of typefaces and typesetting. And having typeset many many books in my day, I can tell you that reading a well-typeset book is a pleasure, compared the torture of a sloppy slapdash job. Alas, there are far too few typographers these days who really know anything about type.

I might add that good typography is conspicuous only in its absence.

Just the aside that Terry Pratchett (the author) uses type fonts brilliantly. In REAPER MAN, for instance, there are two different story tracks that are intercut, each one told in a different type font.

Alas, the American editions screwed this up and didn’t do the different fonts.

Pratchett also uses different fonts for certain characters (such as Death, who speaks in all upper case.)