I admit I do the majority of my shopping online, but when I do go into a bookstore, it’s still the title that grabs me. Here’s why: I usually go to the section I find most promising for my taste, and once beyond the feature tables and endcaps (expensive retail realty!) the majority of books have only the spine showing, so a title is often all I get. If a book is face-out and the cover is striking, it has a better chance to catch my eye. In that case, I’m more likely to peruse the back cover to see what the story is all about. Maybe I read the first page or two for a taste of the author’s style.
Of course, if I’ve come to the bookstore with the name of a specific author in mind, or a title recommended by a friend, none of the above matters. I know what I’m looking for and purchasing the book is only a detail. My friend already “sold” it to me.
Today’s culture of virtual friendship and social media may have taken that important place in our lives as readers. Through marketing magic at such places as Amazon or Barnes and Noble, I can see what other people are saying about a book. I can see “Customers who purchased this book often chose these as well.” It might not be as personal as a friend’s recommendation, but valuable nonetheless because it’s based on numbers of actual sales. The reviews themselves tell me something about the integrity of the reviewer and whether it sounds like someone with taste similar to my own.
Another avenue to choose a new book is checking out the list of free titles currently being offered for Kindles or Nooks. As an Amazon Prime member, there are a great number of titles I can borrow for free now. If I find an author I like that way, I’m more apt to actually put out real money for another book by that author because I already know I like their work. Only cover art is shown on such lists, but clicking through to see what the book is about is free and easy.
Convenience, trying out an author through a free download, customer reviews, popular “bought with” titles, recommendation emails based on my previous purchases—have revolutionized the way I shop for a book. All of that works for my e-reading habits. But cover and title still play a role, particularly when I’m looking at a list where the cover is all I see. It can give me an instant glimpse into the content of the book.
I guess I have all of this on my mind because I’ve recently received the finalized cover art for my next release, which comes out in July of 2012. Here’s a look:
I love it! I can’t take a bit of credit, though I wish I could. I recently met the photographer who worked with the design leader, and I learned he went to a nearby Arboretum to shoot pictures not only for background lighting and material, but the butterflies as well. We all laughed to imagine this giant of a photographer chasing down that particular little butterfly last fall. Great job, wouldn’t you say?
So my hope is when readers like myself go to their choice of venue, whether it’s online or where books can be touched before they’re purchased, this cover will promise the romantic tale that’s inside.
What do you think? Have you ever purchased a book solely because of its cover? Do cover and title have much to do with your choosing process? How do you choose a book?