How often have we heard that we shouldn’t judge a book by its cover? That it’s what’s on the inside that counts? With the increasing popularity of the e-book, free of any frills and fuss, it would seem that we are listening. HarperCollins, Simon & Schuster, and St. Martin’s Press have all reported a substantial increase in their sales of young adult e-books. For example, at Harper Collins, “e-books made up 25 percent of all young-adult sales in January, up from about 6 percent a year before” (NY Times). With the holiday season upon us and stockings stuffed with e-readers of all sorts, the upward trend is likely to continue this upcoming January.
However, while it’s true that a book is more than it’s cover, a beautiful binding can make the story inside all the more appealing. For me, there is a irreplaceable pleasure that comes from feeling a book’s crisp paper edges and seeing it sitting pretty on the shelf. According to the New York Times, I am not the only one who can’t resist the beauty of the physical book: “There are indications that an exquisitely designed hardcover book can keep print sales high and cut into e-book sales. For instance, ‘1Q84‘ has sold 95,000 copies in hardcover and 28,000 in e-book — an inversion of the typical sales pattern of new fiction at Knopf. ”