Two reasons book covers matter

Two reasons book covers matter

Yes, in fact, people do judge a book by the title and the cover.

I think there are two reasons, not completely related:

  1. Most people don’t read, not even the books they actually buy. As a result, the title and the cover are often the best chance you have to make your point, to telegraph what you came to say, to set the stage for the first thirty pages.
  2. If someone reads a book and wants to recommend it, does the cover and the title make that easier or more difficult? Is it easy to talk about, pronounce, share? Does it embarrass or shame the recommender or the recipient? What does the look and feel remind us of?

Eat, Pray, Love was a magical cover and title combination. All Marketers are Liars was a terrible one. (My fault, not my publisher’s).

The move to tiny screens and busier lives has had many consequences. One of them is that we now use an index-card sized bucket to hold a lifetime’s worth of ideas, memes, memories and connections. It can’t possibly fit.

So, all that’s left is work to become iconic. Building an icon isn’t easy, but in a low-information, high-speed world, it’s your best bet.