You can tell a book by its cover

The jacket of a new novel has just seconds to seduce us into a purchase.”

Helen Rumbelow in the Times of London:

As we walk into any bookshop for an impulse purchase, we base our choice on the same superficial attractions as a Casanova walking into a singles bar. And all the new places where books are now sold — the internet, the bookshop’s three-for-two tables, the supermarket — are making us even more likely to judge a book by its cover.

Take Georgette Heyer, the slightly frumpy historical novelist. When her publishers changed all her cover art last year, the classy new Jane Austen-ish look doubled her sales. Haruki Murakami has just been given a complete makeover, and next month Lesley Pearse, Penguin’s much-loved women’s author, is to get the same treatment.

“All the research shows that consumers are very, very influenced by the covers, not necessarily to buy a book, but to pick it up,” Joanna Prior, publicity and marketing director at Penguin, says.

Studies show that a book on a three-for-two table has about one and a half seconds to catch a reader’s eye. If it is picked up, it is on average glanced at for only three to four seconds.

More here.