Friday, August 14, 2009

Custom book covers

I have to admit that I've started to let myself daydream and even strategize more recently about the publication and marketing part of this process. I was pretty disciplined in the first several drafts, just focusing on the work, but I've started to indulge. As a consquence, I've especially been reading and thinking a lot about alternatives to the traditional publication and marketing models, and today I hit on a fantastic idea all my own, I think.

I got it while reading this post in the Printmag design blog about book cover designs that were nixed before publication. Interesting examples in there. As I was reading, I was mousing over the images wondering if I could save any of them to my harddrive (I couldn't), which got me thinking about all the ways people repurpose digital content from the web. I could imagine fans of these books deciding to print out their own custom covers, kind of like how back in Nokia's heyday, the kids were pimping the clamshell covers of their phones.

What Nokia did in that case was to market the possibility and to sell the gear to do it, and the interchangable phone skin was born. A more recent version of that kind of marketing is how M&Ms allows you to customize the message on the candy and credit card companies let you upload your own images to printed on the cards. It's making money off an impulse as old as kids marking up the paper bag covers to their textbooks. (Have you noticed that you can't mark on the plastic book covers they sell now?)

That's basically my idea -- the publishers, especially those in the print-on-demand business, should look at creative uses of those rejected cover ideas. How cool would I look rocking the subway while reading something with the cover that Chip Kidd really wanted to use? Or one that the author chose? Or a copy of Ulysses with a cover I designed myself?

I'm thinking it could cut down on returns and result in more upselling to hardcover and casewrap, more repeat sales to collectors, and more mulitple unit sales for gifts.

Anyway, that's the kind of thing I dwell on a lot lately. Not exactly good for the work, is it?

No comments: