When every word of copy is checked and perfected, what else do you need to sell a book? A strong cover, and that’s exactly what Penguin has delivered! But has the publisher gone too far?
When I first saw this article, my initial response was mild shock and ‘yuk, this image is borderline tasteless.’ Then I thought again: a whole article on BBC online, this blog post and probably many more with a wide range of editorial opinion ranging from approving or disapproving and the arguments for and against. In terms of possible media coverage, a strong cover sells the book in publishing, especially, as in this case where both the author and the story are well-known.
Publishers face many challenges in the digital age to meet sales targets because books consumers ‘consume’ books differently: they are downloaded, borrowed, purchased second-hand or worse of all – not read at all! It is a clever and bold publisher who understands these challenges and decides to attack using the area of social media customers utilise most: the visual or artwork. This cover has been cleverly chosen to work across all image platforms: Instagram, Flickr, Twitter, Facebook and is controversial enough to provoke plenty of ‘likes’ or ‘dislikes’, the result being that all of this provides great reader engagement, more than if the re-issue been published using tamer artwork.
I thought that the little girl was supposed to represent Verucca Salt, but Penguin says denies this. Perhaps she is an extreme generic representation of the sort of 21st century girl, who aspires to be perfect, pretty, doll-like, vacuous and 100% pink. No-one springs to mind.
Book cover photography copyright of Penguinbooks
© Suzy Rigg
Writing every word