Nick Hornby on book cover design at We Made This:
[I]ncreasingly the big retailers, Amazon and the supermarkets, have a say in how a book looks before publication, if the book in question has serious commercial prospects. I don’t really know what to say about that, apart from observing that the people who sell books in supermarkets have different tastes from my own. I am at liberty to object to the covers on my novels, if I really hate them, but my publishers would then, I think, be entitled to ask me to take a lower advance, if I care about aesthetics so much. The days of the iconic jacket illustration, the image that forever becomes associated with a much-loved novel, are nearly gone. The stakes are too high now.
Brian Doherty reviews three books on comics history for the LA Review of Books.
With the demise of the Borders chain and the shaky footing of Barnes and Noble, one might be tempted to write off the whole business. But as one who spent her summer on a book tour, I would like to offer this firsthand report from the front lines: Americans are still reading books. Night after night after night I showed up in a different bookstore and people were there with their hardbacks. Sure, I signed a couple of iPad covers, Kindle covers. I’ve got no problem with that. But just because some people like their e-readers doesn’t mean we should sweep all the remaining paperbacks in a pile and strike a match. Maybe bookstores are no longer 30,000 square feet, but they are selling books.