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How many covers?

September 22, 2011
by seth godin

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“I’ll take mine swami-side up…”

The hardcover edition of We Are All Weird has two covers. You can take off the paper dust jacket, turn it over, refold it and put it back on. Voila, a new front cover and back cover.

Some people were concerned that my original cover wouldn’t accomplish my goal–to emphasize how important it is to engage with people who aren’t in the center of the market. Doing business with others, even those that mass marketers consider weird, is to treat them with respect, to give them the dignity of choice. The inspiration for the book is the swami on the real cover–he lives with very few possessions, teaching and inspiring residents of his small village outside Bareilly, in the state of Uttar Pradesh, India.

Given the chance to replace his dirty and dangerous kerosene lantern with a solar one, he jumped at it. This choice of his gave him power–the power to say no (or yes) and determine how he’ll spend his time and his money. We deprive people of this dignity every day (the dignity of choice), but by opening doors and seeing, actually seeing, people as they are, we can empower them to live as they choose.

It’s so easy for a mass marketer, a mass merchant, a mass manufacturer or a mass government to exclude those that are different, that might gum up the works or not fit a particular vision of normal. Normal is over. I hope the cover (both covers, actually) communicates that.

The ebook edition could have as many covers as you like, of course. The standard has been set at one, but I’m not sure that’s a good idea. I love the back covers of real books, and I wonder why ebooks don’t have them.

Go ahead and invent your own cover if you like. Weird is everywhere you look, even the mirror.

The official cover, the one on the outside

 

Swami-side up

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