Seth Godin recently wrote a post in response to my Huffington Post interview on the Future of the Book. In it, he claimed that the long tail has hit the book business hard, and e-books will exceed a million new titles in 2012. Because of this, all of the ideas I discuss (which he calls “breathtaking visions of the future” like embedded video and audio, plot twists, or alternative endings) he characterizes as “economically ridiculous.” The reason is because the explosion of titles will force production costs down and, therefore, there will be no room for any enhancements for the book.
Yesterday’s post was a celebration of the best book covers of the year. The graphic designers who create such works of art deserve recognition for their work.
As the year winds down, I’m struck by these cover images and the metaphor that they offer. With a quick glance at a book cover, we judge the content and the author. What the world sees of us is like that jacket, covering the real person inside. And just like a book cover, we are judged. Many times, it is before anyone ever took time to read our story.
We work hard to improve our external image. Whether through fashion, diet, exercise or even plastic surgery, we spend billions on physical improvements. It’s not just physical appearance either. We want our presence to be positive online. There are now various “reputation defender” services to combat unwanted reviews on the Internet. How we look to the outside world is important to most of us.
All year long I’m around books. At home, in the office, in warehouses, in bookstores, in libraries and book tradeshows, I see them everywhere. It’s difficult for me to walk by them without stopping and picking one up. Why? The cover.
A cleverly designed book cover can propel a book’s sales. Each of us has a different visual perspective, but you know a great visual design when you see it. Some covers simply stop you in your tracks and almost make you pick up the book. Other covers just fall flat, dooming the book before it even has a chance. And a little known fact: authors generally have little to no say in the cover design.
As the CEO of a large book company, I am often asked about my opinions on the future of the book and the industry. Just last week, CM Rubin interviewed me for a piece on How We Will Read published in the Huffington Post. In that piece, I talk about everything from self-publishing to my recommendations for brick & mortar bookstores in an increasingly digital world.
The interview prompted me to review a piece I wrote almost two years ago for the Daily Beast. Because I believe it is still valid, I am reposting it here:
One of the most thoughtful voices on transformative challenges and disruptive change is Geoffrey Moore. His books are must-reading in business schools, but are applicable to anyone seeking significant growth or change. I’ve spoken on the topic of personal and industry change at various conferences. After one of my speeches, someone connected me to Geoff. I enjoyed meeting him since all of his books are in my private library at home: Crossing the Chasm, Inside the Tornado, The Gorilla Game, Living on the Fault Line, and Dealing with Darwin.