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Old 11-29-2010, 10:18 PM   #1
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How important is cover art to you?

I treat my Calibre library like a real library and have spent some time tagging and adding metadata so everything is easily browseable and searchable. I use the cover flow browser just for fun when I am looking for a book, and I like seeing everything look beautiful, For a few books, I have even re-downloaded the cover art if a new, better version came out (Kelley Armstrong, for example---when I noticed a pattern of sleek, black designs for the last few books, I surmised this common theme might be available for reissues of older books, and they were, so I downloaded/imported them so all of them would look the same).

That said, I have a few past reads which have truly awful cover art, and it annoys me a little to scroll through my list of completed books and they all look nice like a bookstore, and then there is a garish hack job there in the middle of it I have even thought of making my own generic cover that I can use for books like this, but I am not sure how to go about it.

Just wondering if I am the only one who is a bit anal about this sort of thing. Do you ever like to browse by cover? Does it bother you, how they look? Do you try and get a series to have matching covers for all of them? Or am I the only weirdo?
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Old 11-29-2010, 10:39 PM   #2
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Meh. A cover might catch my eye in a print bookstore, but I don't care with e-books. Most of my nonfiction reads, I end up finding because they're recommended via searches; some via reviews or personal recommendations.

For practical use, it can be helpful to have a cover to search for when scrolling through a big e-library. In that case, though, I need only recognize the cover; I don't care whether it's attractive.

I'm reading a book on North Korea today, which I just bought, and I can't remember what the cover looks like at all. I read one on China yesterday, and all I remember is there was some kinda red rectangle splotched on the cover.
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Old 11-29-2010, 11:01 PM   #3
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I mostly read stripped library books, which often don't include a (real) cover, so I add one - the single book where it just won't "take" on my device drives me nuts!

On a related note, my mp3 player displays cover art for audiobooks. If the picture doesn't fit the space exactly right, I'm compelled to futz with the file until I get an image that does!
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Old 11-29-2010, 11:30 PM   #4
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I'm more of a stickler for books having the proper formatting and being free of spelling errors, etc. Seems like the proofing of ebooks is a lot more lax.
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Old 11-30-2010, 12:18 AM   #5
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On one hand, I appreciate beautiful cover art and enjoy striking and imaginative design, especially when it's attached to books I read and buy. On the other, I read and buy Baen books, which are … notorious for having the latter elements, but not in a good way.

So while a nice cover is certainly a bonus and will draw me to look at something I might not have previously (I've certainly tried a number of new authors based on their having netted a Tom Canty or Jody Lee or Bob Eggleton pic), I don't consider it a deal-breaker if the cover is bland or sometimes outright bad.

Of course, I don't see the stuff when browsing through the listings on my Kindle.

Though I must say that the combination of tacky Poser-looking 3D "art" and poorly positioned ugly fonts so common on fantasy backlist e-book re-pubs is a definite turn-off and it takes an author whose works I'm already acquainted with or has a good reputation otherwise to overcome that stigma.

As for generating your own generic cover, I say make up a template in something like Inkscape, or similar vector tool using a nice, non-system font. You can then just adjust the text and tweak the colours for each book and maybe add a picture in the background.

It may take a couple of tries until you have a reusable basic layout you're satisfied with, but after that you'll be able to generate plain but appealing covers like the ones on the B&N/Collins/Penguin Classics lines, which are mainly big blocks of solid colour with a little vaguely representative artwork to distinguish each title but have a formulaic but pleasant look and feel.
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Old 11-30-2010, 05:12 AM   #6
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It was very important as a p-book and still as important as an ebook. Sometimes I won't buy books based on their covers and sometimes I do. I still judge books based on their covers.

When it comes to ebooks, I would rather covers be nothing but boring text than some of the ugly, cramped covers I've seen. I really wish indie authors wouldn't do their own covers. Of course, a lot of those non-covers are of classic books so I know they'll good.
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Old 11-30-2010, 05:38 AM   #7
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When I create ebook I always google for a cover or maybe 2-3.
However, I must say it is a vanity.
If I don't find a cover, the book is as good/bad as with cover.
So, truthfully, I don't care. I browse books by author name and title.
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Old 11-30-2010, 05:55 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ficbot View Post
Just wondering if I am the only one who is a bit anal about this sort of thing. Do you ever like to browse by cover? Does it bother you, how they look? Do you try and get a series to have matching covers for all of them? Or am I the only weirdo?
You're not the only one. I like good covers on my ebooks. I wrote a Quicklook plug-in for Mobipocket ebooks so that the ebooks would look good in the Finder on my Mac. I've even gone so far as to create covers - e.g. for some of the series that HarryT has uploaded.

It's not too hard doing a decent cover — if you can find some good artwork or an original cover of some kind. Here's one I did for HarryT's Tarzan books, which uses part of the dustwrapper from the first edition. I did similar ones for all his Edgar Rice Burroughs omnibusses, and I've often tweaked other covers — getting a higher-resolution version, or even adding a cover to replace the terrible generic cover of many commercial ebooks.

So no, you're no the only weirdo.
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Old 11-30-2010, 05:59 AM   #9
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For p-books an attractive cover can make me pick up the book and at least read the blurb, so from that point of view it's good marketing, at least on me. Just take a look at some of Moejoe's covers. These covers makes me want to find out more about the books.

When it comes to e-books, I guess in a minor degree, the same thing applies, even if one is looking at icons on amazon.com or kobobooks.com.

And seeing K C May's book icon for "The Kinshield Legacy" under her signature attracted me enough to chase it up and decide I wanted to buy it. Similarly with P Durrant's "Kai Lung Stories". The covers augment the titles and indicate that this may belong to a genre I enjoy.

But I think the important thing with a good cover design, or icon in the e-book world, is that there is a very narrow line between an e-book and POD, and the book may well come out as a POD book later. And then it needs a good cover. So I'm spending an inordinate amount of time trying to get a good icon for my e-book, to be released just in time to miss the Christmas rush.
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Old 11-30-2010, 06:57 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by astra View Post
When I create ebook I always google for a cover or maybe 2-3.
However, I must say it is a vanity.
If I don't find a cover, the book is as good/bad as with cover.
So, truthfully, I don't care. I browse books by author name and title.

I don't care too much, I agree with astra that it is a vanity. But, like ficbot, I sometimes just use that cover browser in Calibre, just for the fun of it

Quote:
Originally Posted by ficbot View Post
That said, I have a few past reads which have truly awful cover art, and it annoys me a little to scroll through my list of completed books and they all look nice like a bookstore, and then there is a garish hack job there in the middle of it I have even thought of making my own generic cover that I can use for books like this, but I am not sure how to go about it.


If I can't find a good looking cover, I will use a generic one I made myself. I simply used Paint Shop Pro, made a generic image and added two Text fields (vector images) on it. I can change the text in these fields, save the file under a different name and I have my generic cover...
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Old 11-30-2010, 07:23 AM   #11
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I never did care about covert art... ebook or otherwise.
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Old 11-30-2010, 09:13 AM   #12
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Cover art? Like on a hardback? Cover art are cartoons for the semi-literate.
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Old 11-30-2010, 09:18 AM   #13
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I am ridiculously anal about the way my library looks in Calibre. Covers can drive me to the brink of insanity. If it's a series, the covers must match. If the cover is hideous, I have to track down the nicest commercial one. If no decent commercial one exists, I'l create one. I've gone so far as to delete books on the fly from my Reader because of cover art shenanigans. And I'd do it again.
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Old 11-30-2010, 09:28 AM   #14
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I like having good coverart. I don't understand why a purchased ebook comes with a generic cover. If they can take the time and expense to make a nice cover for a hardback edition, why can't they paste a simple jpeg into an electronic one?

I think ebooks are where online music sales were 10 years ago. Early music sales were crippled with DRM and the quality was poor (128kps). Now they sell music DRM free at 256K. Now, early ebook sales are crippled with DRM and often of poor quality. No coverart and poor formatting.

The music industry is finally listening to consumers (or reacting to pirates). Will the book publishers start to listen?
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Old 11-30-2010, 09:43 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ficbot View Post
Just wondering if I am the only one who is a bit anal about this sort of thing. Do you ever like to browse by cover? Does it bother you, how they look? Do you try and get a series to have matching covers for all of them? Or am I the only weirdo?
You're not the only one . I love my cover art in Calibre. I liked it even more when it was on my Kobo while it was off. I'm still a bit peeved that they removed that feature with the last firmware update. Can't wait to have it back.
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