06 May 2015

A cover purist wonders: Do awards sell books?



I'm a bit of a purist when it's about book covers. A cool, pretty and/or fascinating motive, the book title, the name of the author, maybe the series title, that's all I want on the front cover. I can also live with a short blurb (but often appreciate if it's not there), but that's pretty much it. So maybe that's why I was a bit surprised, not in a good way, when I picked up my copy of "Aristotle and Dante discover the secrets of the universe" by Benjamin Alire Saenz.

As with most books I read, I ordered the book online and then picked it up in my local bookstore. Online the cover looked all pretty and even though there is a lot going on on the cover, it didn't look too crowded and appealed to me. But when I picked up my copy I saw that there were four additions to the cover, four emblems of awards the book has won. 

I recognize the name of one of the awards, but even with this one I'm not sure who and how this award is bestowed, the other three mean nothing to me. And honestly, the four awards pretty much destroy the cool effect of the cover, at least that's what I think when looking at it. 

I wonder if this mass of awards does help to sell copies of the book, will people be more interested in the book because of the awards? Even without knowing what the awards stand for? Will readers be drawn to the book who otherwise wouldn't have picked it up? 

I have no idea if there are numbers to back the effect of award emblems on books. I personally can say that I'm not drawn to books because of awards. Most of the books I read will never be considered for one of the "important" awards and I couldn't care less about it. 

I have read books that won important awards before, some I liked, others I didn't. So in my experience these awards don't help with predicting if a book will work for me or not.

Since picking up the book I have been thinking about this whole award thing and I have come to the conclusion that I prefer my front covers to be free of award emblems, call me shallow because of it, but I like pretty and special covers and emblems of awards often look out of place.   

Btw, the awards on the books are: The Lambda Literary Award, the Pura Belpre Award, the Stonewall Book Award and the Printz award, I heard of the last one before, but have no idea what's it about and frankly I'm not that interested in finding out more about these awards, but then I don't care about awards that much in general. 

I plan to read the book in a few weeks and I'm excited to find out if I will enjoy it or not, not because of the awards but because I heard great things about the book from other readers. I hope that I will fall in love with the story, but of course can't be sure about it. 


Do awards sell books? And do you like them as additions on book covers?

10 comments:

  1. I hate it when there are awards on the book and even worse is when the shop will put stickers on a book which then don't come off cleanly! I think this is an issue for people who love books, to others I believe it makes no difference too. This was an interesting read and an highly debatable subject!
    Emily
    http://paperchainblog.blogspot.co.uk/

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    Replies
    1. I agree, book lovers might be more annoyed by emblems of awards on covers then "normal" readers, maybe we tend to think too much about these things.

      And don't even get me started on those annoying stickers, a few weeks ago I tried to remove one and parts of the cover came off in the process, I nearly started to scream.

      Happy Reading!

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  2. Awards don't sell books to me. Oddly enough, I usually don't enjoy books that are heavily awarded. I think that it may be due to the fact that so many of them are awarded based mainly on literary value and a book has got to have entertainment value for me to truly like it. Of course the two can come in one package, which is always a great read.
    Suzi Q., The Book Dame

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    Replies
    1. So, so true! I want to be entertained by the books I read, and sometimes heavily awarded books are too serious for me, plus reading them can be pretty demanding. I mostly read to relax and have a good time, so the awarded books are not always the best fit for me.

      Happy Reading!

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  3. Perfect example. They've really outdone themselves with this book. So the cover design is so pretty and they mess up with these medals. I wish they had decided on stickers instead... or put the awards on the back.
    Funnily enough I bought the book yesterday (I had seen the horrible award addition before though) and plan to read it in a few weeks as well :D
    With some books you just have to be quick I guess. As soon as you hear they are nominated for an award, you should order them to get a medal-free copy.

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    1. We need to have lists for books we want to read and then another list for potential award books, then we would know what to buy quickly before they mess up great covers. :)

      Happy Reading!

      Delete
  4. Ich denke, dass das eher für Wenigleser und Mainstream interessant wird. Leute, die nur 5 Bücher im Jahr lesen sind nicht so kritisch und verlassen sich eher auf sowas, wohingegen Vielleser wissen, was sie wollen und sich von so was nicht beeindrucken lassen, da sie eben Kenner sind. Toller Beitrag!

    Liebste Grüße,
    Nazurka

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    1. Daran habe ich noch gar nicht gedacht, macht aber zumindest teilweise Sinn. Obwohl ich auch gerade auf Youtube in Buchvideos immer mal wieder sehe, wie die Awards auf Büchern positiv erwähnt werden, vielleicht kann man in anderen Ländern damit auch mehr anfangen. Obwohl wir in Deutschland ja dafür so etwas wie diese Spiegelbestsellerliste haben, damit kann ich auch nichts anfangen.

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  5. I don't really pay attention to awards that books have won. I do follow the Scotiabank Giller Award, but I don't care what awards books might have won. I just want to read books. ;) And I honestly don't like them stuck on the front cover like that. It's distracting.

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    Replies
    1. "I just want to read books" is the perfect answer to so many things that have to do with books, I need to remember this short sentence.

      Happy Reading!

      Delete

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