Cover appeal

Posted on March 5, 2010. Filed under: Books | Tags: |

Old, new and about to start Reader’s Advisors know there are elements of books (and audiobooks and comics, etc), called Appeal Characteristics, that grab a reader and make them interested in a book. These include Story/Plot, Pace, Characterisation, Setting, Writing Style and Genre, or Genre Sliding groups – Adrenaline, Intellect, Emotion and Landscape (Joyce Saricks) or Doorways – Story, Setting, Language and Character (Nancy Pearl). These are all very well and valid, but they omit what may be the most important Appeal Characteristic – the Physical Appeal of a work.

How often do you mooch around the library or bookshop, not knowing what you want to read, waiting for the book to just jump of the shelves at you? It’s how I operate sometimes. And a cover – the colour, the picture, the texture – can make you want to rush straight home with a book . . . or put you right off!

This article in The Millions looks at the different covers the same title may get in the US and the UK (we seem to get a mixture of the two here in Australia). There are more over here at Biblioklept. The comments are worth persuing and perusing too. Do you agree with C. Max McGee’s assessments? I agreed straight off him on the cover of Let the Great World Spin – we had the UK cover here and it made me ill to look at that contorted man on the front – I wouldn’t go near it.

Down here in the Cupboard under the Library Stairs, I see a lot of covers. Recently I have catalogued Gravel by Peter Goldsworthy.

Yow! I can feel the pain!

I just finished To Kill a Mockingbird (again) last night. Look at all these different covers there are to choose from (that’s my one down in the bottom left hand corner).

And then we get to title differences . . . but that’s a whole other story!



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