Do Cover Enhancements Enhance Profits?
The trade market is another segment that demands an attractive cover for its books, says Jeffrey Burg, product manager, book component division of Visual Systems Inc. (VSI) in Milwaukee. That's why his company is doing different things with coatings and varnishes to create subtle effects. To that end, VSI has developed Verachrome, a technique that makes colors appear to change in front of a viewer's eyes.
"As you move the cover, the color will actually shift to a different color. For example, it would go from a black to a green or a blue or a purple…," Burg says. "It's just something that's going to catch the person's eye in the couple of seconds that he looks at the display."
Phoenix Color also offers a product that changes at different viewing angles. Its VibraMotion adds depth and dimensionality with flashes and "spins" that reflect light in different ways from different angles.
Yet not all the pressure to bind a book with an attractive, eye-catching cover comes from competition among publishers to produce the best-looking title. Authors, some analysts say, often are upset when publishers skimp on their covers.
THE LURE OF AN AUTHOR
A fancy cover doesn't guarantee a plum placement in a retail outlet either. One retailer says covers have almost nothing to do with which book gets display space. "It's almost always according to the author," says a spokesperson for Books of Wonder, an independent children's bookstore in New York. The more popular a title's author is, the better its placement.
Designers often push for new products that promise a flashier look, Burg says, but are often shot down by production, which may balk at the often higher cost of such products. So, "rather than provide products [publishers] can't afford, we've focused on making existing products cost-effective for use on an everyday basis," notes Burg.