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Hack The Cover
May 29, 2012 12:08 PM   Subscribe

Hack The Cover "This is an essay for book lovers and designers curious about where the cover has been, where it's going, and what the ethos of covers means for digital book design."
posted by Fuzzy Monster (11 comments total) 16 users marked this as a favorite

 
I judged this post based on it's cover.
posted by Fizz at 12:11 PM on May 29, 2012


Omigod The Conference of the Birds is gorgeous.
posted by shakespeherian at 12:14 PM on May 29, 2012


Yeah! Stunning.
posted by Mister_A at 12:31 PM on May 29, 2012


The way the Kindle app dumps you to the first page of chapter 1 really bugs me. Damnit, I want to see the cover first thing. It gives me a sense of what to expect. It sets a mood. And I don't want to skip over the publication data, the chapter list, or the dedication, either. These things serve as an introduction - this book is from this particular year (does that mean I need to adjust my expectations?), this book is about this long, and so on and so forth.

One book I recently got (Swanwick's "Dancing with Bears") didn't even have a copy of the cover in the file. A thumbnail showed up in the browser, but no cover. And that lead me to start the book slightly annoyed instead of anticipating one of my favorite authors expanding some fun short stories into a novel.

Movies are distributed online, but they still have opening titles. Why does the Kindle insist on stripping that transitional moment of "looking at the cover" from the experience?

(That said, since downloading the Kindle apps for my phone and iPad, I've been consuming a LOT more fiction. I'd basically stopped visiting bookstores because I was loathe to accumulate any more books.)
posted by egypturnash at 12:40 PM on May 29, 2012 [8 favorites]


The very first thing I downloaded for my Kindle was a free public-domain Jules Verne book, just to make sure I could get into the Kindle store and that everything was working properly. After fiddling around for a minute I turned the thing off, and immediately page 3 of Le Tour du monde en quatre-vingts jours was replaced with a very nice public-domainy-looking photograph of Jules Verne himself. "Oh, neat," I thought, "they use the cover art of the book you're currently reading as the screensaver image, so it's kind of like a real book!" Of course, the picture of Jules Verne is just one of the 30 or so rotating screensavers that come with the thing, and that it was pure coincidence that the Jules Verne one happened to be the first one I saw.

I still think that the way I thought it worked would be better than what it actually does.
posted by theodolite at 12:48 PM on May 29, 2012 [7 favorites]


I like how I can buy the essay as a Kindle single, which at best would probably be a ten separate page visit operation, or I can click the Send to My Kindle button and the whole process takes one click and costs zero.

For someone who understands graphic design he has a pretty woeful grasp on commerce.
posted by Keith Talent at 12:51 PM on May 29, 2012


That's an awesome idea theodolite, I wonder why they don't do that?
posted by Keith Talent at 12:53 PM on May 29, 2012


Yeah I think that's a terrific way to do it, theo.
posted by Mister_A at 12:54 PM on May 29, 2012


theodolite: that's a great idea! Email Amazon and B&N and suggest it!
posted by Triplanetary at 12:56 PM on May 29, 2012


I like how I can buy the essay as a Kindle single, which at best would probably be a ten separate page visit operation

It was two clicks. I bought it because he's a thoughtful person who contributes a lot to the industry.
posted by nev at 4:00 PM on May 29, 2012


and immediately page 3 of Le Tour du monde en quatre-vingts jours was replaced with a very nice public-domainy-looking photograph of Jules Verne himself. "Oh, neat," I thought, "they use the cover art of the book you're currently reading as the screensaver image, so it's kind of like a real book!"

The kobo touch (and wifi) does exactly this. It is indeed pretty cool, as it reminds you what you were last reading. You can turn it off though, if you don't particularly wish to share what you're reading.
posted by ArkhanJG at 4:05 PM on May 29, 2012


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