The average American reads about four books a year, which is quite a small number – and one that’s even smaller in Brazil. But, as the literary market gets back on its feet (according to Nielsen Bookscan, sales in 2018 grew about 5% over the previous year), the new bookshelf stars are not the great classics, with timeless stories and unique narratives. The current Kindle Store best-sellers list is actually full of erotic romances with suggestive covers. They feature bare-chested, muscular men – and it seems to be working.
We were always told not to judge a book by its cover. But, as it seems, people are doing exactly that when it’s time to pick their next books. So ad agency Africa and publisher e-galaxia decided to use this to entice a reevaluation of people’s relationship with literature and get them to give classic books a chance.
They looked at dozens of best-sellers and analyzed their covers to find the most common features: strong male upper body, very defined muscles, usually no face in frame, heavy font with a powerful, attention-grabbing word highlighted. Then, with this data collected, they set out to redesign the covers of classic works of literature – like The Picture of Dorian Gray, Robinson Crusoe and Moby Dick.
The Judgeable Covers Collection had a budget of virtually zero dollars. And, without changing a single word from the originals, the new editions stood out immensely from their books’ usual covers, appealing to a whole new demographic – and reaching the #1 spot as Amazon’s best-selling Romance in English.
Maybe it’s not for the purest of reasons, but by changing the covers of masterpieces to a more… marketable format, they have now become enticing to readers who would not have given them much consideration before. And, if this ended up landing a good book on the hands of someone who judged it by its cover, well, then e-galaxia’s work is done.