How do books attract their readers? This collection takes a closer look at book covers and their role in promoting sales and shaping readers' responses. Judging a Book by Its Cover brings together leading scholars, many with experience in the publishing industry, who examine the marketing of popular fiction across the twentieth century and beyond. Using case studies, and grounding their discussions historically and methodologically, the contributors address key themes in contemporary media, literary, publishing, and business studies related to globalisation, the correlation between text and image, identity politics, and reader reception. Topics include book covers and the internet bookstore; the links between books, the music industry, and film; literary prizes and the selling of books; subcultures and sales of young adult fiction; the cover as a signifier of literary value; and the marketing of ethnicity and lesbian pulp fiction. This exciting collection opens a new field of enquiry for scholars of book history, literature, media and communication studies, marketing, and cultural studies.
Table of Contents
Contents: Introduction, Nicole Matthews; Part 1 Approaches to the Book Cover: The paperback evolution: Tauchnitz, Albatross and Penguin, Alistair McCleery; How books are positioned in the market: reading the cover, Angus Phillips; Relocating Liverpool in the 1990s: through the covers of regional saga fiction, Val Williamson; Empirical studies of the bookshop: context and participant observation in the study of the selling of science fiction and fantasy, Nickianne Moody. Part 2 What makes a Book Popular?: Literary prizes, production values and cover images, Elizabeth Webby; Book marketing and the Booker Prize, Claire Squires; Jerome K. Jerome and the paratextual staging of anti-elitism, Susan Pickford. Part 3 'The Record of the Film of the Book': Cultural Industries and Intertextuality: Pop goes the paperback, Gerry Carlin and Mark Jones; 'Now a major motion picture': the delicate business of selling literature through contemporary cinema, Rebecca N. Mitchell; In real life: book covers in the internet bookstore, Alexis Weedon. Part 4 Translating Covers: Moving Audiences and the Marketing of Books: Cover charge: selling sex and survival in lesbian pulp fiction, Melissa Sky; Addressing 'young adults'? The case of Francesa Lia Block, Chris Richards; Images, messages, and the paratext in Algerian women's writing, Pamela Pears; Bibliography; Index.
’There lies the critical interest of Judging a Book by its Cover: that it can blend varying disciplines, genres, authors, critical approaches, and yet remain an accessible, coherent engagement with an unfairly isolated aspect of book production...this collection offers engaged and engaging critical perspectives that broaden and enrich our understanding of an aspect of the book that those of us who do most of our reading in university libraries rarely, if ever, see any more.’ M/C Review ’... a valuable collection of thirteen original articles relating to the marketing of books as material objects... Each chapter of this book is rich enough to deserve its own review.’The Internet Review of Books ’The strength of this rare collection resides in its empirical case studies, broad topical scope on the issues of book packaging and the collective insights from editors, authors, marketers, bookstore staff, and designer.’ Publishing Research Quarterly ’A flat-out good read... this work is highly recommended for academic libraries at institutions that have media and communication, publishing, literature or cultural studies programmes.’ Australian Library Journal