The covers are dead!
Covers, covers — everywherethe record jacket!
Dead like the laser disc sleeve!
Dead like the 8-track cartridge sticker!
Dead like the squishy Disney VHS container!
Dead like the cassette tape insert!
Dead like those damned CD jewel cases and their booklets!
Dead like DVD and Blue-ray box art!
Put 'em all in a box, burn 'em, and sprinkle their ashes over your razed local bookstore. Call it a day. Hang up your exact-o knifes and weld shut your drawers of metal type. The writing's not on the wall but it was on one of those covers you just lit on fire — so we'll never know what it said.
OK — phew. Still here? Great.
If digital covers as we know them are so ‘dead,’ why do we hold them so gingerly? Treat them like print covers? We can't hurt them. They're dead. So let's start hacking. Pull them apart, cut them into bits and see what we come up with.
This is an essay for book lovers and designers curious about where the cover has been, where it's going, and what the ethos of covers means for digital book design. It's for those of us dissatisfied with thoughtlessly transferring print assets to digital and closing our eyes.
The cover as we know it really is — gasp — ‘dead.’ But it's dead because the way we touch digital books is different than the way we touch physical books. And once you acknowledge that, useful corollaries emerge.
Full, long story with illustrations at Craig Mod