Monday, February 05, 2007

What Has Happened to Good Book Covers?

While reading the latest issue of Foreword magazine, I noticed that at least half of the book covers featured in that issue were not up to par.

Whether books reviewed or advertised, the covers were not retail-ready. Even New World Library, who normally does an incredible job of packaging their books, had two books reviewed that had flat, boring, uninteresting covers. What gives? Who was sleeping on the job? Not only with them, but with so many other small publishers as well.

Here look at the two covers from New World Library. Look at how flat and boring they are. Note how the elements for the cover seem to be unrelated. Notice the boring type faces. The way the photos just hang there. I've seen many, many self-published books with better covers than Beyond Knowing. Haven't you?


I asked for feedback on whether or not I was just having a bad night when I first viewed these covers. I called my book cover designer George Foster of Foster Covers. Well, he agreed with me. In addition, he agreed to redesign one of the covers just to help others see the difference between covers pasted together in pieces like the above and a well-designed cover. I like his better. Do you? See below.

Notice how the above cover highlights the main benefit of the book by showcasing the subtitle (which was lost in the previous version). More important, notice how the cover is now integrated. All the parts fit together. The cover looks designed. It looks like the publisher took some time to create a decent book.

Even his redesign of Beyond Knowing is better, although I'd still like to see more from the design (but George was only working with the elements from the real book cover and had nothing else to work with to make the design better).

To help you decide which cover is best, ask yourself this question: Which book cover would I pick up first? I guarantee you that at least 80% of book browsers would pick up George's covers over the original undesigned covers.

The sad thing is how many other covers in that issue of Foreword were as poor, undesigned, uninteresting, un-pick-up-able (that's a new word I've invented to describe bad covers).
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