Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Is copy-cat book cover art becoming an unwanted trend?
April 22, 2008

As a reader and frequent book store browser, I devote a degree of judgment towards book covers while downing an uppity-caffeinated beverage. When picking up an unfamiliar title, the presentation of a book is as important as appearing professional for a job interview. The book’s cover art introduces the reader to the story. Elements infused within the design, illustration, or photography heavily contribute towards the overall presentation and appeal. In fact, there are many times when a reader cannot recall the title or author, but is able to conjure a description of its cover. Once in a while, roles reverse and the consumer influences the cover. These titles become branded by the cover art due to momentous success i.e. Eragon, Twilight, Harry Potter. However, most titles receive a new makeover as the book transforms from hardcover to paperback to reprints, thereby creating a high expectation towards packaging.

Book cover art is a fine art as it attempts to attract its targeted audience. Those of us connected to the bookworld have a high regard for the efforts invested in printing high quality book covers, especially when we are booktalking titles to teens. Attractive and varied covers help us entice readers to expand their reading preferences. For publishers to package two different products with the same illustrations gives the impression of an impetuous company undermining current ethical standards. Whether copyright has been breached is not the immediate issue, rather consumers expect that their personal dollars are purchasing a unique product. To hinder the dystopian possibility that one day there may be several different titles displayed next to each other featuring the same cover art, please voice your opinions in the comments.

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