Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Pretty, pretty covers

The hubs bought me a Kindle for Christmas. I wasn't certain I wanted one, mostly because so many people act like Amazon is spurring the PUBLISHING END OF DAYS, but I have to say: pretty darn nice. I've already zapped a ridiculous number of new books I wanted into my reader (eleven and counting.) Forget the "smell of paper" and "crack of the spine" people pine over. Convenience trumped all that.

But you know where it's not so great? Browsing. Teeny tiny black and white book covers just do not work for me. Because I am a packaging girl--a total sucker for packaging. Just ask the clerks at Sephora. I come in for some cleanser and suddenly I'm all "Oooh, pretty! I need that!" and I leave with a giant bag full of cosmetics.

I love to explore new authors, and the greatest initial influence on me is an appealing book cover. If the title and artwork set the right tone, I'll pick it up and check out the inside flap. If that bit of highly-polished marketing draws me in, I'll read the first page. A good one? Sold.

Really. It's that simple. If I'm honest with myself, I'll even admit I use this method of judgment over personal recommendations. I can think of a number of books everyone I know loved that I picked up/put down/picked up/put down before I was finally convinced. Why? They looked boring.

Someone who worked in advertising should know better, right? Don't judge a book by it's cover and all that. Bah. I like book covers.

So anyway, yes. I'll still be buying from bookstores.

How about you? Have you submitted to the evil desires of Kindle? Thoughts?


Spy Scribbler said...

I still buy book cover, too. I just order the book on my Kindle. But then, I have to spend a couple days in Borders a week, just to get my fill of book covers and browsing. :-)

I hope that bookstores never die. I don't read with paper, but I love bookstores and love browsing through the books.

Janna Leadbetter said...

Ditto! Everything you said. Except Sephora, 'cause I'm not even sure where the closest one is.

Great post, Wendy.

Melanie Hooyenga said...

Wendy, I have said that exact same thing to myself -- I worked in advertising, I should know better! But, I still buy primarily by the cover.

I would love a Kindle.

Brian said...

I totally get the whole Kindle thing. I really do. iPod for books and all that -- and my wife, who travels often and travels far, is probably due one, so she doesn't have to carry multiple books on a plane. My agent loves it, as does my editor. So I get it.

But I still just can't bring myself to get one or use one. I still need the tactiles and visuals. I'm a caveman that way.

JLC said...

I can't bring myself to get one either. New books smell good and they can easily be recycled. (Ie. given to friends)

Erika Hammond said...

Here's the funny thing Wendy...I didn't want to admit to you that I'd gotten a Kindle for Christmas because I thought you'd go all "book crazy" on me. Now I see you've crossed over to the dark side too...yay! I love mine, but I'm with you, I hate the tiny covers, so I usually go to Amazon to "look" at the books first...Happy Reading!

Debra Lynn Shelton said...

No Kindle yet, but that may be in my future. I'm all about the book covers! I have a marketing background and, as shallow as it sounds, in this case, "looks are everything."

And I'm the same with cosmetics. How can you possibly walk away with just one boring tube of mascara? PUHLEASE!

WendyCinNYC said...

Natasha--I hope bookstores never die, too. What a sad thought.

Janna--Your closest Sephora is probably online, which is how I SHOULD shop at Sephora. I'd be less likely to make impulse purchases.

Melanie--Maybe it was the love of packaging that drew us to advertising. Who knows.

Brian--It's good and not-so-good on the plane. We recently were stuck on the runway (shocking, I know) and couldn't power up any electrical devices, including Kindles. I was forced to so the Sudoku in the magazine. That makes my brain hurt.

JLC--That's true. No sharing with a Kindle.

Debra--I'm with you on the cosmetics. You never know which shade of lipstick is going to improve your life.

WendyCinNYC said...

Erika--Happy reading to you, too!

Anonymous said...

What really ticks me off are the repetitive covers. You just can't tell one book from the next, whether it is women with daggers and hiphuggers fighting the forces of darkness, spaceships blasting off or exploding in sci-fi books or the ever present dragon(s) in fantasy books (or man with staff/sword/orb weapon thing).

C'mon people, where did all the creative graphic artist go?

Authors might as well go to deviantart and commission their own artwork.

Anonymous said...

No. I'm too cheap and do love the feel of books. Mostly cheap though..... :O)

WendyCinNYC said...

ralfast--I've noticed a ton of Woman Looking Away on the covers of women's fiction. What the hell are they looking at?

destrella--That's why I hadn't bought one for myself. Kinda pricey.

Allie said...

http://aleapopculture.blogspot.com/ - this blog always does cover lookalike comparisons. I love it!

I read books on the Kindle app on my iPhone sometimes. And honestly, I don't mind the small screen at all. But when I was in NY, battery power was a major issue, and I know the Kindle does super well with that. But, I do love going to the bookstore and buying actually books too. I usually keep a phone book going - something fun and easy that I can pop in and out of when I'm waiting for appointments, etc. and then a book book.

Anonymous said...

Shame-it's called shame, as in "where did my modeling career go" kind of shame.

That or the artist don't know how to draw a full face so they make the subject look away so as too avoid having to draw it.

Or the laziest explanation of all, "everybody does it, why can't we?"

Josin L. McQuein said...

Black and white is inexcusable for a modern device. It ruins the whole effect. Ditch the Kindle and buy nook -- FULL COLOR!!! I don't have one yet, but hearing that they have e-ink, so the backlighting on the screen isn't a problem, means I'll probably get one soon.

Book covers can make or break a book, IMO. Intriguing ones can draw you in from across the room. Plain, boring, or derivative covers are easy to skip over. If it's "been done", then it shouldn't be done over and over and over. I get that if something's popular, others want to emulate it, but it usually backfires.