Do Cover Enhancements Enhance Profits?
ADDING FRILLS WHERE THEY COUNT
"The most important thing we have to consider is the budget," says Chip Kidd, associate art director for the Knopf Group, a New York-based publisher of fiction and nonfiction. "How many copies are we printing? Is it 100,000? 500,000? The print run determines the budget, and the budget determines what cover materials we can use."
Initial print runs often get more decorations than later runs, says Lehigh's Roberts. "What might have been foil on an early printing might be metallic ink on a reprint," he says, "just because publishers aren't looking for the same revenue from the title."
Though the popularity of various technologies tends to be cyclical, say some experts, everyone is hot to jump on the latest wave, Roberts says. "If a particular publisher has a very popular effect—[whether it's] new or a new spin on existing techniques—others want to follow."
API's Kobe says that while a lot of publishers may want to jump on a trend, he also has to provide flexibility, as many want to put their own spin on things, and to create something fresh and new.
A Hologram's Appeal
Publishers looking for 3D effects choose holograms. The holograms are applied on film, by coating or hot stamping, resulting in a relatively low yield compared to other materials. And, the cost can be prohibitive. "There's no question that if you're looking for a cheap, inexpensive solution, this isn't it," says Kobe.
But, Coral Graphic's Weiss adds that whether it's actually more expensive is a matter of perspective. Though the book may cost more to produce, if more people buy it because of its visual appeal, the cost is justified. "The allure, the physical qualities of holograms, is something that gets people to look at a book," he says.