We all do it.
We say we don’t, but we do.
Our minds are drawn to beautiful or interesting visuals. That’s just the way it works.
So first, I want to look at those oh so beautiful ‘leather bound classics’ that Barnes & Noble sell.
They are wonderful. I would buy them all, if it wasn’t for the terrible shipping rates to Canada!
Here are the ones I do have:
As you can see, I went for the same type of collections. Fairy tales and children’s stories!
This one, I’m hoping get rereleased.
Now, I’d love to talk fairy tales, and their impact on both writers and society as a whole, but I’ll save that for another post because I have tons to say about it!
This is all about the cover art.
I believe having shelves of old books, with decorated spines and beautiful imagery is a romantic idea that many people have. Finding old books for a cheap price however is not easy! Now these books are not old, though the stories inside them are. They are however beautiful, and are really like a piece of art in a way.
This brings me to a question though. Do you prefer having your shelves filled with a variety of sized and styled books, or do you like the uniformity of having, let’s say, all the Barnes & Noble leather bound collection. That would be all your classics, styled in this way. Does that appeal to you?
As much as I think they’re beautiful, and I do want to get a couple more of them, I think having too much of the same would probably not be to my liking. It would be too intentional, and would become more about the art, than the books themselves. What do you think?
Another great cover:
Neil Gaiman’s The Ocean at the End of the Lane
This one is gorgeous.
A.G. Howard’s Splintered
So I haven’t read this one yet. This is one of those cases where my thought process went: Oh wow, that’s beautiful! Oh, it’s about Alice in Wonderland. I’m interested!
So clearly, that’s good marketing!
Hopefully the book is gripping as well.
And of course, no post would be complete without a mention of George RR Martin’s book series A Song of Ice and Fire. Walking into the fantasy section of a bookstore can feel overwhelming if you don’t know what you’re looking for. Though this is changing now (possibly do to Martin’s covers), most fantasy covers tend to feel like they all started from the same template. There will be a guy (or once and a while a woman) wielding some fancy sword, hair whipping around in the wind, determined look on their face.
You see the same kind of generic art in Romance covers, and it can be off putting. Maybe the book is great, but I don’t know that when I’m looking at a cover, and I will not be inclined to read it. So what sets Martin’s books apart, at least until everyone catches on and does the same, is that they don’t have typical fantasy art . Just a single image, on a plain background. That’s it. Nothing fancy, and yet totally gripping!
Another fantasy writer got me this way as well. Joe Abercrombie’s First Law Trilogy:
They are so simple, with only the title being the focus, that I immediately was drawn to them. And that’s what a good cover does, it makes you pick up the book, and read the synopsis (which is hopefully well written!).
This has worked in many genres. Just look at how Fifty Shades of Grey, and other erotic/romance novels have used this kind of cover to grab an audience. It really works!
As I’ve said however, people will catch on to this, and soon there will be too many books using this kind of cover, and then its impact will be lost.
So, when you walk in to a bookstore, what catches your eye?
What book on your shelves do you think has the best cover design and art?
Let me know in the comments!
Until next time,