Imagine you’ve walked into a bookstore, browsing for something new. Besides an explicit recommendation, how do you decide what to read? If you’re like most people, you reach for a book that looks interesting… based on the cover. Mokoto Rich of the New York Times discusses how the e-book era may prevent us from judging a book by its cover and the ramifications that has for authors:
Among other changes heralded by the e-book era, digital editions are bumping book covers off the subway, the coffee table and the beach. That is a loss for publishers and authors, who enjoy some free advertising for their books in printed form: if you notice the jackets on the books people are reading on a plane or in the park, you might decide to check out The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo or The Help, too.
“So often when you’re thinking of a book, you remember its cover,” said Jeffrey C. Alexander, professor of cultural sociology at Yale. “It’s a way of drawing people through the visual into reading.”