As the cover of a book communicates to the potential reader what lies within, many conventions have emerged to highlight certain genres, such as an old photograph that promises a memoir, or a shirtless muscular man that promises a romance novel. To investigate further, we’ll look at four popular books sold in both the US and the UK and see what each cover has to say about the same story.
It’s the dawn of the publishing GIF. If you pay enough attention, you’ll be able to feel it in the air: the buzzing, looping electricity that knows no bounds. It uses ebooks and the internet to infiltrate our homes and our minds, and once there, it stays and lays low, playing over and over and over again until it’s time. And, my friends, it is almost time.
Now, the issue of design as an ebook editor occurs when the epub file must be cleaned up. By “cleaned up,” I mean unnecessary tags removed. Imagine if someone got rid of all the span tags, including span class=”italics”, in all of the HTML files. Getting rid of the span tags means that the CSS file won’t be able to stylize the words previously marked by those tags.
I refuse to believe we can’t move past the paperback designs of the past with their jumble of chunky fonts, strange color palettes, and, dare I say, unappealing illustrations of aliens.
I remember, at age eleven, seeing a copy of Lois Duncan’s 1976 young adult horror novel Summer of Fear featuring its original cover art at the Multnomah County Library and knowing immediately that I had to read it. And it wasn’t because I enjoyed the cover design; it was because I could barely look at it.
No matter how brilliant a piece of writing is, if it doesn’t know who the audience should be or doesn’t give enough context about its subject, the writing fails to be read, understood, and shared. It fails to communicate. The same holds true for book design.