Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Read this!

I received an article that Vicki sent out this morning: Book jackets: An endangered art, by CNN contributor, Bob Greene.

Read it and let’s start a discussion. I think the piece makes some very cogent points, and also delineates some of the things we lose when we change technology.

Some points to consider:
• In the e-book era, will covers become irrelevant or morph into something else?
• If they morph, what will be different?
• Are book covers really important to a book’s success?

Rather than give you my take on all of this, I think it would be more interesting to see what Type M’s contributors and readers think.

Okay, go to it!


ajcap said...

I got hooked on Caleb Carr because of his jackets. Eerie, blurry old photographs that hinted at mystery. I think it was Angel of Darkness.

Good article by Mr. Greene, though I didn't realize how much I missed album covers until he mentioned them. I hardly noticed them fade away because you get so caught up with new technology, I'm afraid the same will happen with book covers. I like pictures. Some e-stories I have read have stuck a picture or two in, I liked that. But it wasn't the art that made me want to read the story. That is still up to the blurb.

With all the competition out there, as long as there are good old-fashioned book stores, there will always be a need for good book covers.

Rick Blechta said...

ajcap, thanks for weighing in.

Trouble is, books are very likely to go the way of the dodo and good old-fashioned books stores will be selling good old-fashioned books, meaning used, because paper books won't be published in the electronic age.

I, for one, really enjoy books and would hate to see them only available in a limited way, but it certainly is looking like e-books are the way of the future.

I think it's pretty obvious that covers often do sell a book — or they at least get you to pick it up for a closer look. Publishers are going to have to come up with some equivalent. An electronic blurb will only take you so far.

Vicki Delany said...

A book cover will entice me to pick up a book, which may lead me to buy it. A bad cover means a straightforward pass. I fear that people will be buying e-books only because of author recognition, as there won't be many other clues.

ajcap said...

"...looking like e-books are the way of the future."

I wonder how soon that future will get here? Still a lot of baby boomers out there who prefer a book. Two years, five...ten...before a book becomes a rare commodity? Maybe then my book collection will be worth something to collectors. :)

Rick Blechta said...

It's going to get here when the publishers decide it's to their economic benefit for it to be here. It has nothing to do with all the baby boomers (although I wish it did). The best they can do is slow down the tidewaters.

I didn't ask for CDs, but all of a sudden, no LP releases to speak of, and all you could find were CDs. Why? Because they were cheaper for the record companies to produce.

Now CDs are going out the same way and we download the music we want.

One side benefit, though: they're starting to make real (ie: readable) album art again. That's one thing I really missed when CDs came in. You did get more sometimes with multiple gatefold inserts, but it was so small you could hardly read it. Talk about mouse type!