Do Cover Enhancements Enhance Profits?
Consumer spending on books will reach $44 billion by 2008, and publishers will be serving up a menu of more than 2.3 billion books from which readers can choose, predicts a recent study by the Book Industry Study Group, a nonprofit industry organization.
With so many titles vying for a piece of the pie, each book's cover becomes increasingly important to catch the book-buyer's eye, despite the old caveat about judging a book by its cover. But does pomp and circumstance help sell books?
Beauty Is Only Cover Deep, But It's The Cover That Buyers See
Many in the industry agree that a book's cover can instantly woo or repel, regardless of the book's content. "Anybody who doesn't believe that people judge a book by its cover is missing some basic fundamentals about human nature," says Eric Roberts, director of graphic technology for The Lehigh Press, a Pennsauken, N.J.-based provider of book components. "The judgment is often unconscious, subliminal. What we like—what we hear or see—that's on automatic pilot, but we do make judgments."
A book's cover can especially convey a lot about its value and its tone. An expensive-looking cover means a valuable book; an exciting cover an exciting book. While this concept may be nothing new to designers and production managers, in the struggle to get attention from retailers and the book-buying public, many publishers are looking to 3D, lenticular, new colored inks, foils and embossing to give their books a bit of extra curb appeal.
"What's going on [the cover] can make your book different or unique," says Rob Kobe, market development manager for API Foil Inc., a film and coating manufacturer in Lawrence, Kan. Today, says Kobe, "holographic is the hottest." "More and more holographic products work toward the theme or style of a publication, making certain, in a way, that they have a more captivating effect on the shelf." As an example, Kobe notes an ocean-related title that used holographic effects to simulate waves.