Monday, September 17, 2012

Don't Judge This Book by Its Cover Revised Repost

In honor of Nonfiction Monday, I'm reposting my June post about book covers.

I'd love your feedback on how much a book's cover influences your decision  to read or not read, especially in an age of Good Reads reviews et al...

I recently received a lovely letter from Cheryl Chambers, a Teacher-Librarian in Halifax, Nova Scotia. The letter said, in part,

"I recently read and reviewed (as part of the CANLIT reviews for schools in Halifax) your book "The Big Green Book of the Big Blue Sea."

I thought it was fabulous and gave it a 5/5 for its content. I recommended that every elementary school have at least one copy of the book.

There is however, one problem: the cover. None of the students I showed the book to would even take the time to open the book because they were put off by the cover....You have done such a fantastic job making all of the difficult concepts you bring up accessible. I think that "The Big Green Book" is an invaluable resource for educating students about the real problems facing our oceans today. But as you know, people can't help but judge a book by its cover. I would love to see this book republished with a new bright, interesting cover, so that more people will turn to "The Big Green Book" and hopefully learn from it and try to help improve the fate of our oceans...I think my favourite experiment in "The Big Green Book" was the one on over fishing, students should be able to easily understand the crisis facing the world's fish population after performing that simple experiment."

Letters like this are both thrilling (she liked it!) and disheartening for an author. We work hard on a book, as part of a team, and trust the other members of the team to do a great job all around. And they do. But sometimes, well, maybe there's a misstep.

I don't know if that's the case with The Big Green Book. Is Cheryl's opinion of the cover what's blowing in the prevailing wind? Is it a Slam Dunk, or an SOS? What do you think?

I hope, either way, that people will read the book and discover what's inside.

"Hopefully," Cheryl added, "my glowing review to the school librarians in Halifax will encourage others to purchase your book. " Me too.

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