What would you do if you really couldn’t judge a book by its cover? This is the proposition being offered by one Melbourne bookshop which is giving customers the opportunity to choose and buy a book in plain packaging.
The idea is not really new. We’ve seen it in other contexts; the ‘cleanskin’ approach to wine, the mystery hotel or destination booking and the good old lucky-dip. But will it catch on for books?
From a marketing point of view an eye-catching cover will attract the reader (and buyer), but in the digital age you can buy an e-book from a list (no cover in sight). When you make the download, many e-readers jump straight to page 1, by-passing the cover altogether. I have one friend who refuses to buy an e-reader for this reason. With recent data showing a 2.2 per cent jump in hardcopy book sales in Australia this past year, she's not the only one opting to see the cover first.
What do you think – is the cover an essential ingredient for a quality reading experience?