1 November 2008

Don't Tell Me Covers Don't Count

I'm not sure how some people select a book. We don't all go to a bookshop or library with a list, but I have heard some people say they are influenced by neither the cover of the book, nor the blurb on the back. In fact they seriously avoid looking at either.

Today I came across a seriously interesting set of covers. It started off with a post from Karen at EuroCrime about World Book Day.

World Book Day is the biggest annual celebration of books and reading in the UK and Ireland. The World Book Day team asked publishers large and small to submit books they thought deserved to reach a wider readership – most specifically those that would make good subjects for discussion, those that don’t merely entertain, but give greater food for thought.

The result is a long list of 50 books, only 2 of them from the crime fiction genre, and neither of which I've read. But what struck me as I looked at the list was what an interesting set of covers they are. It's a bit like a beauty queen pageant really. I know the old saying, "you shouldn't/can't judge a book by its cover", but the cover really does play a large part in our assessment of the potential of the book, doesn't it? Most of these covers appear to tell you quite a bit about the book inside.

When you visit the site, have a look at some of the other clever things it does. Click on one of the covers. A panel drops down and you get the beginning of a blurb about the book, and also the beginning of the latest comment by a logged in user. Over in the left hand margin, there is a "selector" where you can choose the books according to category: there are 37 fiction books, 13 non-fiction, 35 books set in "other places", 19 set in "other times", and 15 categorised as "other views".
On the right hand side there is a changing parade of book covers and an invitation to register, leave a comment, and vote.
There's also a feature, a tab that says See The books, that gives you a random selection from the 50 books.
As I said, a very clever site, with lots of features designed to make you spend a lot of time there.

The drawback for me is that you have to create a login to leave a comment on any of the books, or to vote. You'd think with all that other cleverness they might have worked out a way to make that a simpler process than me having to leave my digital footprint yet again.

Karen says: Voting on the long list will end on 2nd January 2009. A short list of ten titles will be announced on 30th January 2009 and voting will recommence. The winner will be announced on World Book Day.

So let's try to remember World Book Day, 6 March 2009. If you are interested in what won in 2008, there is a post here, but I didn't actually find the results very conclusive, although there obviously was a winner. In the voting in 2008 there were 100 books, and there is an archive available. Perhaps providing only 50 in the longlist will polarise the votes a bit more.


Uriah Robinson said...

I agree Kerrie far too many publishers stick some stock photograph on the front of a book which has been used on other books in order to save money.
A lot of thought had obviously gone into many of these covers.

Dani In NC said...

I'm pretty bad when it comes to covers. When I worked outside the home, I used to carry a book with me for reading at bus stops or when waiting for someone to pick me up. If I was in the middle of reading a good book with an ugly or plain cover at home, I would pick a different book to take out in public. I guess I thought it made me look smarter if I was seen reading a book with an intriguing title or cover art.

Kerrie said...

I like a good cover! It can tell you so much about a book. But there are some books that have quite lurid covers and I would have to think seriously if I wanted to be seen in public with their company!
What's the best cover oyu've seen lately?


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