Vanderschantz, N., & Timpany, C. (2013). Who says you can’t judge a book by it’s cover? The International Journal of the Book, 10(4), 1–17. https://doi.org/10.18848/1447-9516/CGP/v10i04/36995
Permanent Research Commons link: https://hdl.handle.net/10289/13294
They say that first impressions are everything, so what impression do our books give us by the cover they have? Can we make a generalisation or gain a basic understanding of the content of a book from this first impression? There is much debate over the future of the book, with much of our understanding of how an electronic book should look and feel coming from generalisations about what a ‘book’ is and assumptions about the needs of those that read them. Little evidence exists regarding the physical properties or the use of a book to support these generalisations and to guide the development of future books. The printed book comes in an almost infinite number of proportions, sizes and variations, depending on the content which it must hold, or maybe depending on the whim of the designer. With hundreds of thousands of new printed books being published each year it is hard to generalise about what the ‘average’ book might be with the current paucity of research to support this. The data used in this research is sourced from a wider data collection sampled to give a broad impression of what our books “look like” and how we use them. Based on this audit of 880 books we are able to examine the age-old adage that one cannot judge a book by its cover. The design elements of type, image and colour all play a role in conveying an initial impression to the potential reader about what the volume may hold. Thus we ask, what does a book’s cover tell us about its use, its audience, and how it fits within an academic library classification system?
© Common Ground, Nicholas Vanderschantz, Claire Timpany