Do Cover Enhancements Enhance Profits?
But Roberts says few new innovations are setting the world on fire. "A lot of it is augmentation of existing technologies."
The good news is that within those existing technologies and their new manifestations are a variety of choices for almost every budget. Inks, laminations, UV, all offer possibilities, says Roberts. Too, tactile book covers are making a move … either real textures through foil and embossing, or technologies that give the illusion of three dimensions. Book publishers are finding uses for all of them.
"It really depends on the end use for the book," says Joann Scherf, vice president, marketing, of ICG/Holliston, which calls itself "The Book Cover Company," in Church Hill, Tenn. ICG has been producing cloth covers for books across many industry segments for more than 100 years. "A trade book, an educational book, a juvenile [title], each has its own characteristic set of materials and looks."
IF YOU SPEND LESS, BUT THE BOOK FLOPS …
Still, skeptics wonder whether fancy book covers really sell books. Some experts say they can and do, especially in the educational market. "The market expects a premium cover," says Mitch Weiss, senior VP of sales for book component provider Coral Graphic Services Inc., Hicksville, N.Y.
"Publishers spend $40 to $50 million getting a book in print. The cover will cost 50 cents—who cares if it costs 60? If it's the difference between success and failure, who wants to save a few pennies?"
Roberts says focus groups he has conducted have shown that school texts with striking covers are those teachers keep in their hands. And a good-looking text gets students interested in the subject.
"Publishers want to sell books," says Weiss. "If they didn't need exceptional covers to sell books, you can be sure they wouldn't use them."