Iconic books are texts revered as objects of power rather than just as words of instruction, information, or insight. In religious and secular rituals around the globe, people carry, show, wave, touch and kiss books and other texts, as well as read them. This blog chronicles such events and activities. (For more about iconic books, see the links to the Iconic Books Project at left.)

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Missing Covers

Motoko Rich complains in the New York Times that in the era of Kindles, Nooks, and IPads, "You can't tell a book by its cover if it doesn't have one."

Among other changes heralded by the e-book era, digital editions are bumping book covers off the subway, the coffee table and the beach. That is a loss for publishers and authors, who enjoy some free advertising for their books in printed form ...

As publishers explore targeted advertising on Google and other search engines or social networking sites, they figure that a digital cover remains the best way to represent a book

I think they'll have to do more than that, because the association between a book and its cover will be lost if readers don't see it every time they start to read.

Meanwhile, monks that bind books to support their monasteries find the business falling off, reports the Catholic Sentinel. In this case, the culprit is the development of digital journal archives by university libraries. The Trappists of Our Lady of Guadalupe Abbey (Lafayette, OR) are
not completely losing accounts, but the amount of work sent in by customers has plummeted. During the 1980s, the monks bound about 50,000 books per year. By 2000, the number slid to 40,000 and now it stands at 23,000.

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