15 Jun 2012
The basic idea that is presented is that book covers are dead. In a digital marketplace, the book art is no longer the primary thing that a reader has to go by when trying to decided whether or not to give an unfamiliar book a shot. Now we look for metrics, namely aggregate reviews. To compound that, the cover is no longer life-sized, but has been compressed down to a thumbnail next to an Amazon listing or removed entirely by browsing your ereader’s list of books and then jumping immediately to the text itself, bypassing all of the hard work that a designer has put into it.
This is the point where the essay could have gone off the rails, lamenting about a bit of beauty fading silently from the world. But it doesn’t. Instead, he reminds us that all of the artistic features of a physical book have arisen from and evolved out of the physical requirements. This new medium, then is not so much a loss as an opportunity to do something new and exciting.
What is the future of book covers? Who knows. But I, for one, am excited to see where this leads.