Can You Judge A Book By Its Cover?

By Peter Cronin | Thursday, November 7, 2019 | No Comments

As a rock ‘n’ rollin’ baby boomer, I have fond memories of leafing through the new arrivals bin in my local record store, pulling, perusing, and flipping them over to scan the credits.

Several factors weighed on my purchasing decision, but it was often the album cover art that sealed the deal. There were times when I laid down my hard-earned cash for an artist I’d never heard of, all because the cover art moved me to buy. In almost every case, those blind purchases turned out to be among my favorites.

In today’s miniature digital environment, the magic of the album cover has pretty much disappeared. It’s challenging to fit vital information, never mind make a creative statement, on a postage stamp-sized palette.

Where album covers have shrunk in size and importance, book covers have somehow retained their power and evolved to suit a fast-moving, fickle digital consumer. Even as the recent resurrection of the independent bookstore and the advent of Amazon’s brick and mortar bookstores are reviving the art of browsing, the publishing industry has effectively adapted to online shoppers.

Writing in New York magazine, journalist Margot Boyer-Dry sees a creative trend of “bold and blocky Instagram-era” book covers.

“If you’re looking for the most anticipated books of 2019, chances are your search will start with Google and end at Amazon,” Boyer-Dry says, adding that publishing industry designers are currently producing “book jackets built for Amazon thumbnails, Instagram clicks, and indie-bookstore Easter-egg hunts.”

With bright colors and adventurous type treatments, publishers and graphic designers are successfully collaborating to attract and motivate book buyers on both sides of the digital divide. Maybe you can judge a book by its cover.

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