Why Publishers Should A/B Test Book Covers

book coversNever judge a book by its cover. So the saying goes, yet consumers do it all the time. Every publisher and bookseller knows that covers sell books. But do consumers also form expectations from looking at the cover? Well, based on the results of some of the initial reader analytics data at Jellybooks, we think they do.

The phrase “You can’t judge a book by its cover” is attributed to George Eliot’s The Mill on the Floss (1860), in which Mr. Tulliver uses the phrase in discussing Daniel Defoe’s The History of the Devil, saying how it was beautifully bound. Eliot was of course not a man, but rather the pseudonym of Mary Ann Evans, who knew that a book was viewed differently in her time (and maybe even today?), if written by a man as opposed to a woman. Appearances matter, as first impressions shape expectations.

In this post I will discuss two recent cases in which the cover was central to the interpretation of reader analytics tests Jellybooks conducted for book publishers.

Much more.


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Shelfie CEO: Books Should Be ‘Format-Shiftable’ (DBW)
Shelfie is an app that allows users to take a photo of their bookshelves and get ebook and audiobook versions of physical books they already own for free or at a low cost. The app also gives personalized recommendations based on the idea that the best recommendations come from a full picture of the books readers already own and how readers naturally organize their books—essentially, a photo (or selfie) of one’s personal bookshelf.

Bookticker Promotes Ebook Deals and Discovery (DBW)
Bookticker, a new data-driven website for ebook deals, launched yesterday. The platform uses metadata feeds from publishers to display new ebook deals in real time. Bookticker specifically focuses on promoting bestselling titles with reduced prices, publisher-promoted titles and titles that’ve fallen in price without any promotion.

What Adult Coloring Books Show Us: Light, and Dark (Pub Perspectives)
Of all the colors in the big box of crayons, which hue is missing? Adult coloring books roll on in major publishing markets, but the picture coming together isn’t about books.
Related: Sourcebooks Strikes Gold with Personalized Adult Coloring Books

28,000 French-Language Ebooks Are Newly Available in the US (Pub Perspectives)
The “diversity and richness of French and Francophone literature” is reflected, says François-Xavier Schmit, in the major new expansion of ebooks he is offering at Albertine. The bookshop and reading room at 972 Fifth Avenue positions itself as New York’s only French bookshop, and has brought books from some of France’s best-known publishing houses into its huge new catalog of ebooks. A total 88 French publishers are represented in the collection, including Actes Sud, Minuit, Flammarion, and Gallimard.

German Publishers on Promising Licensing Markets Around the World (Pub Perspectives)
Ahead of the Bologna Book Fair, where Germany is Guest of Honor, we spoke to some German children’s book publishers about the rights opportunities they are seeing globally.

How Readers Discover Content in Scholarly Publications (Scholarly Kitchen)
Discovery patterns and practices are changing steadily, as workflows adjust to new services and work around a variety of barriers. The best data about discovery practices are held by content providers, who are able to analyze the variety of sources that researchers use to reach their platforms. But while many content providers analyze their own traffic sources, they tend not to share these data with one another or publicly, making it impossible for them to know whether their patterns are typical or particular.

Time for a New Model? (Seth Godin)
Human beings are prediction machines. Successful humans skate to where the puck is going to be, predict what’s going to happen next, have an inkling of what’s to come. We do this by creating models. A really good model is a theory, a testable method for asserting what’s going to happen next under certain conditions—and being right.

Textbooks ‘Central’ to Reducing Teacher Workloads (Bookseller)
Textbooks are central to minimizing the strain put on teachers, a government report has found. The department of education has released a document entitled “Independent Teacher Workload Review Group: Eliminating unnecessary workload around planning and teaching resources,” which has been welcomed by the Publishers Association.

IPR License Announces Three Key STM Partnerships (DBW)
From a press release: “IPR License, the global rights and licensing specialists, has continued to strengthen its key partnership network within the STM marketplace by announcing affiliations with leading industry names Cambridge University Press, Wiley and Informa.”

Datalogics Announces Integration of Active Textbook (DBW)
From a press release: “Datalogics, Inc., the premier source for PDF and eBook technologies for developers, today announced the integration of Active Textbook to create new pay-as-you-go digital textbook platform, iFlipd. Active Textbook is an end-to-end solution for enhancing, managing, and distributing learning content. Active Textbook includes authoring tools to enhance EPUB2, EPUB3 and PDF content with interactive videos, quizzes, and other multimedia; as well as powerful and customizable eBook readers.”

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