Wednesday Cover Story: The beautifully packaged book v The e-book

Earlier this week, over dinner with friends, I was asked the all-too-common question: will e-books eventually kill the book? Won’t everyone ultimately opt for the cheapest possible bargain?

I proceeded to explain that undoubtedly, e-books have made a dent in the sales of physical books, especially mass market paperbacks. Unless you are averse to reading on screen (as I am),  if you were offered the option of buying a cheap, throwaway paperback edition OR an even cheaper e-book, you might understandably opt for the e-book version. There’s seemingly little (other than price) differentiating the two. However, if the physical book was beautifully packaged (like many hardbacks are) then it’s a whole other story. Suddenly the difference between that gorgeous physical book and that tiny thumbnail you are looking at on Amazon’s Kindle store, becomes much more apparent. And the added value of enjoying that physical book worthy of that extra cost.

As I explained this to my sceptical friends, it brought to mind the words of reader Elaine Aldred (who blogs at Strange Alliances) who had described our hardback edition of Devoured, by D E Meredith some months ago:

‘It was the hat that first caught my eye. A top hat, set against a wonderfully textured orange-red background, on the cover of the book propped up on the table display of my local bookshop. It was so vivid I could see it as soon as I walked through the door. Moving closer the eccentrically arranged word ‘Devoured’ made me pick it up. I was rewarded with an irresistibly tactile experience between the paper of the book cover and that hat. The built in book mark put the finishing touches to a publication that had the appearance of a class act. My initial decision to download the cheaper e-book went out of the window and this type of presentation is probably why physical books are not yet dead.’

I wish I had had this snippet of copy to hand at the time, as it illustrated my point to perfection.

Chiara Priorelli, Publicity & Online Marketing Manager

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