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Old 06-05-2011, 06:07 AM   #61
GraceKrispy
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I'm an avid reader, and this has been a very interesting thread. For paper books, I always browsed by spine (I am a library girl, and the books are always spine out). Title and spine design would get me to grab the book. Then I'd look at the cover, read the blurb, and decide if it goes back on the shelf or into my basket.

With ebooks, I pay a bit less attention to covers and more attention to the blurb. I only really notice the cover if I think it's a mismatch for the actual content of the book, or if it's particularly striking. I actually pay more attention to the cover *after* I've read the book, because then sometimes the cover makes more sense.

So the cover seems less important to me, but the blurb is even more important to me for ebooks. Blurbs that are boring or contain errors can really turn me off. I've been disappointed by an exciting blurb that introduced a rather mediocre story, but (from the author's point of view) at least the blurb got me to read the story.
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Old 06-06-2011, 04:09 AM   #62
Frida Fantastic
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I second Grace regarding the importance of blurbs. I rarely/almost never sample any fiction book with a single or two sentence blurb. I just can't infer anything about the book, whether it has content that I'm interested in or not. I'm pretty keen on knowing POV character, tone, and setting right from the blurb. For fiction, I mostly read science fiction/fantasy, and the promise of an interesting setting adds 40% to the likelihood of me at least sampling the book. I guess what makes a good blurb depends on the readers being targeted, but yes, more information is better than not enough information.
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Old 06-06-2011, 03:54 PM   #63
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Trying out my shiny new avatar. It was pretty gutless of me to use someone else for an example without putting my own target up, so this is my cover at Smashwords. Ain't saying it's good or bad, just an example of what I been saying, there to poke fun at or ponder on.
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Old 06-06-2011, 07:39 PM   #64
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I agree with Frida. The detailed information blurb always works better whether printed or Ebook.

I believe the sale statistics show that too.
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Old 06-10-2011, 12:23 AM   #65
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A friend shared this with me earlier today - an interview with a cover designer for Penguin books. I figured it made sense to post it here instead of starting a new thread.

An interesting read to be sure.
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Old 06-11-2011, 06:59 PM   #66
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Writing is like any other business. The cover may get you some initial interest, but word of mouth will sell the books.

Most covers of e-books are horrible anyway and much too busy.
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Old 06-11-2011, 07:05 PM   #67
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I think it's both. I don't see how one could be better than the other. Of course the content is the most important but how are you going to draw your audience if you have a crappy cover. Both the cover and the content must be up to par. I can't see how one is better than the other.
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Old 06-12-2011, 05:41 AM   #68
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When I was in a bookstore some days ago, I stood in front of the bookshelf (crime novels) and looked at the spines to find some authors I already know, so I wouldn't be surprised. I found some, took them to read the backcovers for some information and when I knew they were new to me, I bought them (Deon Meyer, John Harvey, Greg Iles). I didn't look at the covers (a landscape, a girl's shoes on a carpet, something graphic), they didn't matter.

This is a bookstore, that sells paperbacks at half price, so often the books are stored in containers instead in shelves. When I want something new, I grab a handfull of books out of those containers, look at the thickness (I don't buy books with less than 300 pages, because they will be read in one evening). I look at the covers to sort out genres I don't like and then I read the backcover (see above). Again the cover is not important for the decision to buy a book, only for a 'no buy'.

When books are presented on a table, I look if some of them get my attraction. I like to take a closer look at good designs: the picture, the text (font style, color, size) and how is it arranged. And if I like the cover, I open the book to see who has done it (mostly the same people). And then I lay it back.

But: How many independent authors make it to a bookstore? How many readers have the opportunity to hold your printed book in hands? Is this thread about selling/buying books in a bookstore or about online merchandise? If so, you have to 'think different' (IBM), you have to optimize your book for a presentation on the screen of a user. That is:
- a cover that looks good in miniature
- a few lines with a summary of the contents that attracts the reader before he reads (and has to click on) 'more'. If he wants more, you may give him a more detailed blurb.

So again I would say: First step is to get the interest of the reader (cover and info), but only if he wants the contents, he will buy the book.

George

Last edited by GMcG; 06-12-2011 at 07:51 AM.
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Old 06-13-2011, 05:21 PM   #69
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GMcG View Post
When I want something new, I grab a handfull of books out of those containers, look at the thickness (I don't buy books with less than 300 pages, because they will be read in one evening). George
Interesting. You look for quantity rather than quality in a book. Some people don't like to waste time reading long books unless there is a need for more pages to make sense. I happen to be one of them.
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Old 06-13-2011, 06:15 PM   #70
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From what GMcG wrote, I don't think it's quantity instead of quality, but rather quantity first, and then sort for quality among those longer titles.

I'm not quite that extreme, but I do pay close attention to length and I like to get a decent bang for my buck not only in the reading experience, but also in cost per hour arena. I sometimes delay purchasing short series or sequels I know meets my other requirements if I expect they will be repackaged as omnibuses, often with a lower price per word. I buy games looking for similar value. Among those games that are higher quality, I look for those with longer gameplay potential and often wait for GOTY/gold bundles.

I find it interesting how different people approached the topic. Some very personally, in what they do. Others more along the lines of what they believe the mass market does.
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Old 06-13-2011, 06:22 PM   #71
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i think the cover art is important and can be meaningful.

that said, i think ereaders erode the power that covers have.
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Old 06-14-2011, 03:05 AM   #72
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@ DrDln
'Interesting. You look for quantity rather than quality in a book.'

I read any book I've bought at least three times before I give it away. But there are exceptions from this rule. Some novels I've read five and more times and they are still on the shelf, waiting for another reading. When looking at it I found:
John Sandford (17 novels), James Lee Burke (12), Michael Connelly (8), Jeffery Deaver (7), Lee Child (7), Jonathan Kellerman (7), John Connolly (5), David. L. Lindsey (5), but also William Faulkner (6) and so on.
This may say something about my preferences, but I wouldn't say, this is quantity instead of quality.
Sometimes it happens, that, when at home and starting reading a new book, I notice that I must have it already in stock, maybe bought a year ago. So it seems that I'm quite sure what I want to read and I don't mind grabbing in a container. And I've never bought a book that I didn't read.

@David Marseilles
'I don't think it's quantity instead of quality, but rather quantity first, and then sort for quality among those longer titles.'
and
'I do pay close attention to length and I like to get a decent bang for my buck not only in the reading experience, but also in cost per hour arena.'

That's it.

George
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Old 06-14-2011, 08:15 PM   #73
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@ DrDln
'Interesting. You look for quantity rather than quality in a book.'
I read any book I've bought at least three times before I give it away. But there are exceptions from this rule. Some novels I've read five and more times and they are still on the shelf, waiting for another reading. ....
@David Marseilles
'I don't think it's quantity instead of quality, but rather quantity first, and then sort for quality among those longer titles.'....
My choice of words was not quite the way I wanted to convey. And I do respect your choice.

I think I understand that you look at quality first, and then it is better to have more pages than fewer. Or pick up books with more pages and then select the good one or quality.

Now, for example, if you have two books to pick up from. One have fewer pages but better quality; and the other have more pages but less quality...Here one has to sacrifice quality for quantity, IMHO. That's what was on my mind when I posted.

It appears that selection criteria for fiction and nonfiction varies. Thanks and happy reading.
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Old 06-17-2011, 03:01 PM   #74
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Bashfulbanshee has covered just about everything I might want to say, and Mr. Ploppy really summarized it. If I'm just browsing, rather than seeking a specific author or title, the cover will catch my eye and get me to look at the content. The content will sell the book. There are far more books than I have time to consider, let alone explore, so a decent cover can be the deciding factor between this book and that one.

The website thing is something I can really speak to, because that's what I do -- website design. As a result, I don't just notice, as anyone does, that a website I'm visiting is annoying; I know why it's annoying.

Jakob Nielsen, the usability guru, said it best: "Users spend most of their time on other websites." I can't emphasize that enough.

Over and over again, I see websites -- often by "creative" people of one type or another -- that don't take that into consideration. They put their navigation in unconventional places, so users have to go find it. They use unconventional types of navigation, so users have to learn to use it. They, in short, promise (by default) the user one thing -- a website that they can use just like they use every other website -- and then yank the rug out from under them and say, in effect, "I'm so special that you're going to have to discard your normal way of doing things and do them my way instead." The typical user's response is along the line of "Just who do you think you are, anyway?" followed by a quick click of the "back" button.

I do not want to figure out how to use your website.

I do not want to read everything about your company, your relationships, or your dog.

I do not want to "be part of a community"; I just want to buy a freakin' book.

I want to know what books you've written. I want to know where I can buy them. And, being who I am, I want to know if they're DRM-locked or not (if they are, wasting my time by hiding that fact and sending me to a sales site for a book I'm not going to buy won't make me buy your book anyway; it will make me think you're a jerk). If I want to find out about your thoughts, opinions, or life story, make that a link if you must -- but don't force me to read through it to find out about your book. No, it won't make me want your book all the more; it will make me go to the website for the next author on my list and drop you off it completely, because there are more writers selling books I want to read than there is time to read them, so there's no reason for me to struggle to get yours when there are so many alternatives.

I guess that can all be summed up in "Get over yourself!" I don't want to jump through hoops -- I just want to buy a book. Who, what, where, when, why, how ... important words, those. Answer them and you'll have a sale. Ignore them and I'll go elsewhere, because there are so many elsewheres to go to, and so little time.
As a website designer, what is your opinion on white font on a black background? I usually give up trying to read it.
I believe the easiest to read is black on a yellow background.
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Old 06-17-2011, 03:32 PM   #75
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A good cover will grab my attention and get me to pick up a book, whereas a bad cover will cause me to pass on by. Sad but true. However, the book with the good cover doesn’t always get purchased if I don’t like the blurb on the back, or the little bit I read of the first chapter.
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