My husband loves leather-bound books. The other day, while shopping at Costco, he saw a leather-bound version of The Arabian Nights. As a collector of classic literature, he could not pass up this book with its beautiful cover.
The New York Times recently ran an article on “Selling Books by Their Gilded Covers”. The gist of this article was that many publishers are releasing books with special cover design elements like deckle edges, covered endpapers, embossing, and exquisite jackets. The article’s author felt that publishers were giving old-fashioned print books a makeover to compete with ebook sales. The article asserts that if ebooks are about ease and expedience, the publishers reason, then print books need to be about physical beauty and the pleasures of owning, not just reading.
I agree, as digital books become more prominent, owning books will be as much about the physical beauty as it is about reading. However, I believe that this was true even before digital books arrived on the scene. My husband collected leather-bound classical titles before ebooks appeared. Even though he now has an iPad with numerous books on it, he still enjoys collecting these books.
I think there are two more reasons to dress up book covers. I wrote about one reason in my post “Is There a Hole in Your Book?” where I talked about making book covers standout to attract attention amongst a plethora of titles. The other reason has to do with books as gifts. Giving someone a paperback title is a nice gift. Giving someone a book with a gilded cover is a more elegant gift that may be treasured more than just a plain book.
As you ponder the cover design for your next book, keep this idea in mind. Would your book sales benefit from using some form of unique or elegant cover design?