Books with no Cover

A big pile of books with no cover imagesWhen was the last time you bought a book with no cover? I don’t mean that it literally had no cover, but that the cover was plain, with only the title and author name, which amounts to the same thing.

My betting is that unless you are a second-hand bookshop aficionado, you haven’t bought a plain cover book for a long time. If you have then it was because it was a book that you already knew you were going to buy, either a classic in retro-hardback, or from a reading list on a course you’re studying.

The thing is that when I was growing up in the Seventies it was quite unusual for me to find books with bright cover art. I’m not saying there weren’t any at all – I’ve seen the old lesbian pulp fiction covers of Ann Bannon, and the sci-fi pulp and westerns as well. But in our house, in the school and in the library, most books were hardback and had that very plain fake leather with gold writing.

Was it snob value? I think it was probably that coloured covers were more expensive. Most children’s books were illustrated but with line drawings or ‘plate’ images which were a full page of colour within the book and on a different type of paper. There were some children’s books with line drawings embossed on the cover, The Secret Seven comes to mind here.

My novel, SilenceI’m not complaining at all. I think that the cover of my own novel Silence will have a very positive effect on the sales. When it comes to a new author you need all the help you can get in enticing people to pick up the book. But sometimes when I walk into a bookshop I feel assailed from all angles by the lurid designs.

It’s getting to be one-upmanship where the next thing you know there’ll be flashing neon signs on a book cover saying ‘buy this’! Hey that’s not such a bad idea, maybe I’ll get onto my publisher…

 Josie Henley-Einion, author, blogger, Legend in my own Living Room


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