While reading an article about self-publishing, I happened to stumble upon this fact about book covers:
“75% of 300 booksellers reviewed (half from independent bookstores and half from chains) recognized the look and design of the book cover as the most important part. They agreed the jacket is prime real estate for promoting a book.”
I struggle with this, because, to me, I fundamentally disagree that the cover is the “most important part” of a book, but on a marketing level, I supposed I understand. When I go into a bookstore or search shelves virtually on Amazon, I generally already have an idea of what I’m looking for. It’s either a text that my teacher assigned, a sequel to a novel I’ve been obsessing over, or perhaps something entirely new. But even when I purchase something new, the first thing I do is grab the book, turn it over, and read the description. I don’t see a pretty picture of a bird or flower on the cover, or maybe even a woman, whose back is mysteriously facing me, as is so common in chick-lit these days, and automatically decide the book is for me. But maybe there are readers who do.
“Our brains are wired to process images faster than words. When we see an image, it makes us feel something.”
Or as Naomi Blackburn, top Goodreads reviewer, states in the same article:
“If the cover seems to be nothing more than a catalog photograph with block lettering, I bypass it. If the author didn’t care enough to dedicate time/effort to their cover, I wonder how much time they put into the book itself.”
To be fair, an author might give away the responsibility of cover design when they choose to work with a publisher. If you ever plan on writing your own book or working in publishing, here are a few things to keep in mind during the design process.
For one, it’s important that the cover doesn’t give away too much.
It’s also important that your cover doesn’t give readers nightmares.
Some of the best covers have used custom font, which has since become iconic.
Fans become so accustomed to these designs that changing them can even cause outrage.
From The Guardian:
“both the image of a Mad Men-era woman applying make-up and the bright red backdrop are laughably inappropriate for a work tracing a descent into near-suicidal depression (had the designer read past the early, jollier chapters?)…”
What do you think? Does the cover of a book affect your decision to purchase it?
– Melanie Figueroa