Wednesday, February 4, 2015

"Wednesday's, Wonderings & Wanderings": Judging Books By Their Covers

We have all heard that wise old saying, "Don't judge a Book by it's cover." And for the most part I will say it is most definitely true, BUT I will prove that the saying maybe a bit too old to apply when talking about contemporary book covers.

You see back in the olden days, not even that long ago really, about 100 years ago maybe less, book covers were hardly a thing to really behold. I mean seriously I'm talking plain Jane books here. Sure some would have frilly drawings on the cover to set itself apart and grab your attention, like this book here shown above, however more than most would just be the solid binding on its own. Reason number one price. $$$! Book production was, and rather still is, an expensive production, especially hardcovers. Which is probably why any book lover may own more paperbacks in their library than hardbacks, one because of price and two because let's be honest hardbacks are a lot harder to handle when reading and carry around than paperbacks.

Now let's fast forward to today's advertising mass marketed media driven world. Everything must be top notch or it will be lost in the world. The examples to my right are just snippets of some of the more popularized books. They all use texts and color as their main selling points. Blue, Red and Yellow are the "IT" colors of advertising because they are attractive to the eye. Having Script on the book's exterior can help too in drawing the reader in to reading the front and get them interested. Both are things which back in the day old book covers weren't able to provide readers. So they relied on word of mouth, other advertising and the Author's prestige.

However, now a days many of the book covers have to be more and more movie poster quality in order to catch the readers attention or the book won't get huge attention. In fact two industries now exist in this time that didn't exist in the 1900 or the past when cover art wasn't a thing. Number one indie or self publish authors is a huge industry now, everyone and their mother can now be a published writer. That was definitely a career to be envied back in the day, but now with a click of a mouse your work can be published anywhere and everywhere you desire and for how much you choose (though it doesn't mean it'll be bought or read) Then there is the second industry of Cover Art Design, which in the wake of all those indie authors came the demand for unique and special cover art. Graphic Artists can now focus on this as an art form and get paid to design book art for authors who other wise would not have flashy book covers. The whole economics of supply and demand is starting to come into play here, and I might have actually learned something back in that high school class of economics. 

In any case it's clear the book industry world has definitely evolved from just caring about what the books said inside, but now it's about the presentation too, in fact it may be more about the exterior. So the saying "Don't judge a Book by it's cover," may still apply, but how can a reader be put at fault when authors and the book industry fuel them to see nothing but the cover as proof of what is on inside of the book? Should we all perhaps move to restore the old images of books and lessen the media hyped version of book covers? Or are readers too far gone to the point that movie like pictures for cover art are all they want and expect?

Option A

So in truth if you had to pick between reading Option A or Option B, Which would you choose?
Option B

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