The Face of the Book

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If you think words reign supreme, think again. Before we even open a book, we are courted by its cover, beguiled by its blurbs, invited in by the black and white photo of the writer on the back.

A cover can be a window into the book’s soul. Or it can be a tease, a marketing strategy, an artistic flirtation with you, the buyer. Do you like yellow? Word in the marketing department is that jaundiced covers won’t sell. Want to appeal to the supermarket crowd? Embossed lettering spells a quick-read thriller.

And the blurb by that Nobel Prize winner will triple the sales! The arbitrary aesthetics aesthetics of book-bound beauty, and the symbolic language of literary quality are the elements of the art, or artifice, of the cover.


David Drake, publicity manager at Broadway and Doubleday;
Carol Horn, VP and head buyer at the Harvard Book Store;
Chip Kidd, associate art director at Knopf;
Carolyn See, writer and professor of creative writing.