One of the most brilliant book covers I’ve ever seen. – Fahrenheit 451

The October Country, the Martian ChroniclesA friend sent me this link in an email this morning. As Ray Bradbury, and this book in particular, occupy a special place in my heart I couldn’t help but share it with you.

Check out this fantastic cover for Bradbury’s masterpiece, Fahrenheit 451.

I’ve sat through more meetings than I count which focus on book covers. It’s a core part of my responsibilities at work. Our team strives to create innovative, eye-catching, sometimes profound, and always meaningful book covers. We take it seriously, and we work hard at it. While the old adage  “You can’t judge a book by its cover,” may be true. An equally true statement is, “Consumers determine whether or not they are interested in picking up a book in only seconds.” (Not as snappy a phrase, I know.)

But that’s it. That’s how long we’ve got to grab them with a book cover. Only a few seconds. So we’ve got to be creative.

In addition to that, publishing teams have to wrestle with the finances of book covers.  Most books in the bookstore are hardcovers with jackets, printed hardcovers, or paperbacks. That’s simply because those are the most affordable, consumer friendly formats for books. When publishing teams move away from those norms they risk two things: creating a format that consumers won’t like; or the more likely scenario – creating a format that’s too expensive to print.

When publishing teams create innovative covers like this they have to ask themselves, “Will we sell enough of this book to make back not just the investment in the author (i.e. the advance), and will we also make back the expense of the cover?” It’s not an easy question to answer. It requires a confidence in your product and author, and a knowledge of the marketplace. Obviously this group believes that Bradbury and his story have enough relevance today that they can make it work (which makes me smile).

I applaud the design team that created the cover in the link above. For a Bradbury/publishing geek like me it’s something to salivate over. It makes perfect sense with the story. It’s completely fresh. And it has a profound power to its message. I’m sure they’re team took a financial risk to produce this cover. I’ll never know for sure, but I’m betting it was a pretty expensive venture to create this thing.

So go out and buy yourself a copy. Support the innovative designers. I intend to as well. I’ve not found a link for this copy online yet, but when I do, I’ll post it here.

-AR

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