The idea of the book, cont’d: The coverless era

Posted by Rob Walker on March 31, 2010
Posted Under: Suggestions


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: if you notice the jackets on the books people are reading on a plane or in the park, you might decide to check out “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo” or “The Help,” too.


Some readers expect makers of electronic devices to add functions that allow users to broadcast what they’re reading. “People like to show off what they’re doing and what they like,” said Maud Newton, a popular book blogger. “So eventually there will be a way for people to do that with e-readers.”

Perhaps what will happen with e-readers will be an option for displaying the cover of the book you want people to think you’re reading — a mobile version of the digital “bookshelf” I proposed here.

See also: “Destroyed Copy of ‘Buying In’ as Kindle Holder.”

This post is part of an occasional series.

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Reader Comments

Also from an aesthetic point of view, it’s not unlike the transition away from vinyl LPs and their often-lovely cover art to the often-perfunctory CD slip.

Written By jkd on March 31st, 2010 @ 9:46 am

I am certainly attracted to books in a small part by covers–as I often am to wine–and the dialogues that can come out of that attraction.

Written By Susan on March 31st, 2010 @ 11:21 am