The other day I wandered past my local Waterstones and noticed the vast effort that goes into book jackets and covers. The beautiful, colourful displays were inviting and enticing, but in the digital age and with readers increasingly choosing their next book through review sites and bestseller lists, is it worth all that effort now?
I can understand the need a few years ago, when buyers bought with their eyes. Without the ease that we have today of finding book reviews online, readers had their eyes drawn to a pretty cover, read the blurb and then made the decision to purchase or not. However, today there are so many other factors, yet still publishers and authors pay a fortune to have sumptuous designs created for their stories.
So many of them are truly stunning, and designers are always coming up with quirky new designs for both new novels and reimagined versions of the classics. After all, they are always recreating The Harry Potter Series with new and exciting covers, even making one for adults as well as children. Recently Penguin Books published The Wood by John Lewis-Stempel with a pretty cover with a sweet, floral design complete with a gamboling badger and swirling vines. Being a West Country girl, this cover really drew me in and, although I did not immediately buy a copy I know that I would never have bothered to read the blurb had it not been so enticingly pretty.
As such, it’s my opinion that books will remain aesthetically pleasing for a long while yet. Despite the advent of ebooks and the temptation for readers to review their books before they buy, purchase online or take recommendations, there will never be anything better than a good old-fashioned rummage through a good book shop. As such, I don’t believe that book designers have anything to fear from the technological revolution.