There's a reason one of the world's most popular maxims is, "never judge a book by its cover." That's because everybody judges a book by its cover.
Traditional or fancy, plain or electric, simple or three-dimensional, a cover says a lot about the text inside, and the imprint (and printers) behind it.
Last issue's cover story on how publishers are using eye-catching covers to boost sales and improve positioning on retailer's shelves was an instant hit with readers, because publishers know that great covers sell great books. That's why they design them to stand out and be judged.
The high level of enthusiasm for this topic convinced us we needed to produce a follow-up article, and fast. After considering how best to approach the subject anew, we decided to invite some of the industry's leading manufacturers of book cover materials to give us their take on the latest products and best practices for using them.
Ultimately we identified 20 major providers of book cover materials. We invited them all, via e-mail, to write 300 to 500 words for an "upcoming cover materials roundup."
Their assignment, should they choose to accept it (in the end, eight did): tell Booktech readers what's hot in cover materials; what's coming next; provide tips, suggestions, best practices, and gotchas for using their recommended materials in production; and to include their standard corporate marketing pitch.
Regardless of the materials they offer, it takes but one rewarding project to convince a publisher of a new material's worth. The right material will wow readers in terms of appearance, texture, quality, and perceived worth. That undeniably increases sales in every channel, except electronic (for obvious reasons).
The right material can reduce costs while keeping perceived quality high. In other cases, costs go up (a premium material is a premium material), but their impact on sales and the publisher's quality reputation, other things being equal, can justify the expense.