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Are “Naked” Books the New Design Trend?

by Mistina Picciano  ||   4 Comments

Image for EBook Covers Post

This post by Jane Genova on IndieReader.com talks about the growth of the market for ebooks and what it may mean for those of us who love the appeal of a well-designed book cover.

As Genova points out, the fact that those who self-publish using one of the larger, no-frills indie publishers tend to end up with a standard cover template doesn’t seem to be slowing sales, as some indie titles with plain vanilla covers still end up on The New York Times and USA bestseller lists.

I’m still a believer that a good book cover attracts attention and that people (at least some, anyway), do judge a book – even an ebook – by its cover.

Jane’s piece goes on to discuss how using some of today’s tools for marketing books online – and those that have yet to be discovered – “could wind up selling more books and having more impact on society than what any cover could have achieved in the past.” Maybe so, but I still have to wholeheartedly agree with Lee Harrison, who opines:

“Book covers are like wrapping paper on a gift or packaging on food. They make a soul giddy in anticipating what treasures lie within. A good cover, like good packaging, makes one eager to unwrap; break in; explore. Covers sell magazines; front pages sell newspapers; packaging sell cake mixes…”

Well said.

Read: Are Books As Sexy Without Their Covers?

What are your thoughts on attractive cover art for ebooks? Do you see it as a valid promotional tool, a dying bit of Americana, or as a total waste of money? I’d love to hear your opinion.

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4 Responses

  1. Erin Ferree says:

    Creating cover art for your ebooks does three things psychologically:
    1. Makes the invisible ebook visible, so that people become aware it’s available, and what it is – in an instant.
    2. Packages the book to make it seem more real and to add perceived value to what’s essentially a computer file.
    3. Identifies the book as a part of your brand and hooks it in more firmly to your brand’s overall message. This makes your ebook more of a “team player” in your brand.

  2. Thanks for sharing your insight, Erin. Your site is a stellar example of practicing what you preach. All of your ebooks and other communications support your brand beautifully.

    Do you think that cover art is as important when it comes to fiction? (If you’re a fiction reader, that is.)

  3. For a physically real published book, yes, I like to see a well designed cover. Too many are bland, or look like some high school art student designed it. But for an e-book? I’m a bit tired of seeing a 3d book in the promotion, cover and pages and all when I know I’m getting a digital book. It’s even more disappointing when the fake cover is nicely designed but the e-book is poorly formatted, has clipart graphics, and fonts that are hard to read! So for an e-book, design a nice cover, but please make sure the what’s inside the package doesn’t disappointment visually.

  4. I hear you, Leona. At this stage, I haven’t run into too many examples of the e-books you describe, but most of the self-published books that I’ve seen look like they were designed on the cheap – with a similar investment (or, rather, lack thereof) in editing the manuscript. So I view a poorly designed cover as a warning sign.

    When it comes to self-promotional e-books, I pay less attention to the “cover art” than to all the marketing materials. If someone’s website or email pitch is riddled with errors or otherwise lacks polish, I don’t even bother with the e-book, free or not.

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