Friday, 2 December 2011

In Praise Of Book Covers

By Richard Jay Parker

As more and more readers opt for ebooks, the demands on book covers are changing drastically.  Formerly designed to lure unsuspecting readers onto the rocks of unknown authors a book now has to sell itself in thumbnail size.  Images and fonts have to be legible on an Amazon page as it's very often the only bite of the cherry the designer has.

It's always been an art form.  Pulp fiction probably benefited the most by seducing customers with lurid covers and titles.  This was replicated in the eighties when unregulated home video distributors went right over the top packaging movies with the most outrageous cover images imaginable.  In the UK many movies were banned and the covers were partly to blame.

Great covers are crucial for new authors.  If a reader hasn't heard of you or your book then the cover has to engage them.  Even if the reader doesn't buy there and then, a memorable cover and title will lodge itself in the memory.

With 21st Century demands the book cover has to tick more boxes than just catching readers' eyes in shops.  But here's a cool site to remind ourselves of an era when book covers ruled the earth.  It's run by a guy named Jim Barker and is great fun.

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  1. For writers on Amazon, I think there is now a new disease called "Cover Anxiety Disorder" CAD. Is it good enough? Does it put people off or make them buy? Does it really stand out, or does it look daft among all the 'real' covers.

  2. Thanks for swinging by, William. Another anxiety for writers? Just what we need...