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Don’t judge a book by its’ cover when you can peek inside October 5, 2010

Posted by Edwin Ritter in Grab Bag, Trends.
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You’ve heard the cliche about book covers and what is inside. To remove all doubts and really determine what a book is about, you have to look inside. A common design goal for the cover image is to reflect what the book is about. After all, to paraphrase another cliche, a picture is worth at least a few words. Yet, the cover does not always depict the contents inside. I have seen too many business books that do not lend themselves to useful imagery.

The major e-tailers selling books include several ways to not only look inside, but also, interact with the content. Using a book I bought after looking inside (my review), here are various ways this experience is provided:

Not to be outdone, book publishers also offer ways to glimpse inside. Over at Harper Collins, you can even read multiple pages. They provide an interesting embedd badge to easily leverage books from their catalog. Here is a soon to be released offering from the well known writer, Elmore Leonard.

Browse Inside this book
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This image accurately relates to the content. It easily invokes potential content ideas that are contained inside. This ‘browse inside’ embedd gives away content that is easily leveraged by other sites. I assume that somewhere there is a hook to track usage. The data collected would include title, author, ISBN and other related information as part of the tally. This re-use feature can be a competitive advantage for publishers as a key differentiator for sales. The related data analysis may provide insight into trend behavior and reveal new opportunities to drive sales.

Each cliche has a grain of truth and now we can judge a book not only by its cover but also by what’s inside.

How have you taken advantage of this preview? Has it changed the way you judge books?