Book Publishers Create More Lavish Book Covers to Combat E-Reader Popularity

Submitted by: Joan MacKenzie 01/31/2012

In an article by Julie Bosman in the New York Times titled “Publishers Guild Books With ‘Special Effects’ to Compete With E-books,” Bosman wrote “If e-books are about ease and expedience, the publishers reason, then print books need to be about physical beauty and the pleasures of owning, not just reading.”

January 13, 2012

By Paige Wills

E-readers are undoubtedly gaining popularity. They allow readers to have access to an entire bookstore in the palm of their hands. Instead of having to drive to the store or library, readers can now click a button and the book appears!

In order to combat this, publishers are giving old-fashioned print books a makeover so to speak. In an article by Julie Bosman in the New York Times titled “Publishers Guild Books With ‘Special Effects’ to Compete With E-books,”Bosman wrote “If e-books are about ease and expedience, the publishers reason, then print books need to be about physical beauty and the pleasures of owning, not just reading.”

If you think back several hundred years, this technique isn’t new. Books used to be handwritten and were elaborate works of art. However, after the invention of the printing press, it became easy to print thousands of identical copies.

Even though the invention of the printing press gave millions of people the opportunity to read, somewhere along the line the “art” of the book was lost. Most books, although great, are somewhat generic, and I believe this is what publishers are trying to combat now. They want book-owners to feel proud of their purchase and display it as a “work of art” so to speak. Whether it is displayed on a book shelf or coffee table, it can be a great conversation piece.

Electronic versions of books are like the new version of the electronic printing press. It has made reading accessible to many, and it has made reading more convenient.

Another section of Bosman’s article talked about convenience reading versus book-owning:

“‘If we believe that convenience reading is moving at light speed over to e,” Mr. Schnittman said, using the industry shorthand for e-books, “then we need to think about what the physical qualities of a book might be that makes someone stop and say, ‘well there’s convenience reading, and then there’s book owning and reading.’”

Now books that have more elaborate covers may cost a little more; however, that is a choice you are free to make. I’m sure publishers will still print less elaborate, more affordable options for the public in addition to the more elaborate copies as well.

However, in my opinion, paper books have one thing electronic books will never have: elaborate covers and artwork that have the ability to catch your eye while you are passing through a store.

What do you think? Do you think creating more elaborate and lavish covers will help combat electronic books? Do you prefer e-readers or paper books?

For more information on this topic, check out Julie Bosman’s article in the New York Times titled Publishers Guild Books With ‘Special Effects’ to Compete With E-books.”