July 25, 2017
Paper books are efficient and elegant. They’re easy to store, simply constructed, and use space well. The format of bound pages wrapped in a protective cover has been working since somewhere around the second century! Anything that’s been around that long must have some enduring benefits.
Now, with the arrival of eBooks and online bookstores, the purpose and benefit of a well-designed book cover has expanded even further. In addition to simply wrapping the content of your book, your cover serves at least four promotional purposes:
- Product design. Your cover design will become a small part of your reader’s decorating scheme at home. They want a book that looks good on the shelf, and that affects their decision-making at the point of purchase.
- Product packaging. Books don’t need to be sold in a box—the cover is a built-in wrapper. This means the marketing functions of package design, like attracting the attention of a potential reader, must be accomplished by the cover design.
- Ad artwork. Wherever you advertise, you’ll use the image of your book cover as part of the ad art. This is especially important online where a cover needs to look good at many different sizes.
- Brand identity. Your cover design forms the basis of your author brand. This is especially true for authors of multiple books or series, where certain cover elements usually repeat on each book, so that readers will be able to recognize an author’s work by sight.
Although we’ve all heard you “can’t judge a book by its cover,” the truth is that people do. And if creating a single cover design that can effectively do the work of product design, packaging, ad artwork and brand identity sounds like nuanced work—it is. That’s why it makes good business sense to hire a professional: it’s like getting four for the price of one!