Will Fancy Covers Save Print Books?

To help offset some of the money lost on MP3 file sharing and illegal downloading, many smart bands and record labels create special edition CDs and vinyl records for albums that are also released digitally.

The idea is to create a product that is beautifully designed that fans will want to own. Often, these extensive boxsets and heavy vinyl packages, come with a code to download the album for free for those who purchase it. Let’s face it, even those people who will shell out more money to buy a 180 gram vinyl version of an album, are probably going to actually be listening to MP3s more often.

The New York Times is reporting that this trend is beginning to happen in book publishing, citing examples of books with elaborate print packages from Jay-Z, Haruki Murakami and Stephen King. The Times reports: “The eagerly anticipated 925-page novel by Haruki Murakami, ‘1Q84,’ arrived in bookstores in October wrapped in a translucent jacket with the arresting gaze of a young woman peering through.”

The Times piece also goes on to point out that these print books can sell even better than eBooks. “There are indications that an exquisitely designed hardcover book can keep print sales high and cut into e-book sales. For instance, ‘1Q84’ has sold 95,000 copies in hardcover and 28,000 in e-book — an inversion of the typical sales pattern of new fiction at Knopf. Scribner, an imprint of Simon & Schuster, published ’11/22/63.'”