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Publishers 'missing a trick' with blurbs
11.06.10 | Victoria Gallagher
Publishers are "missing a trick" by not perfecting blurbs on jackets despite the fact they are "commercially valuable", delegates were told at The Bookseller Cover Design Conference yesterday. The importance of blurb and other copy on book jackets was highlighted at the conference held yesterday (10th June) at The British Library Conference Center, and attended by 200 delegates.
James Spackman, sales and trade marketing director at Hodder & Stoughton, said: "There is time and effort and strife that goes into finishes, foil and shine, etc - but think about how many books are sold online these days and this means nothing. We're missing a trick." He added: "The words are commercially valuable . . . We can afford to be positive about this, we have a chance to add value."
Spackman discussed research from Book Marketing Limited which found that the blurb makes 62% of consumers buy a particular book. He added: "It's a vital motivating factor in why people decide to buy a book and it is totally in control of the publisher."
Spackman flagged up titles where he believed the copy had significantly improved the sales of a book. He said the blurb on The Other Hand by Chris Cleave "represents a bold new view of how much content needs to go in". The title addressed the reader directly but did not give much away about the storyline therefore "unsettling the reader" said Spackman.
He too highlighted The Book Thief by Markus Zusak, Twilight by Stephenie Meyer and Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel as three titles which work well by doing things differently.
Publishing consultant Damian Horner added: "We should not underestimate [blurb]. No matter how beautiful our cover designs are, at some point they will turn it over and then either put it back on the shelf or buy it."