A photo that screams ‘buy me’

The evocativeness of dust-jacket photos is why publishers put them on the cover. They’re selling tools, part of the book’s packaging, like the packaging on a bar of soap. Yet in the work of some photographers, the author’s photo can aspire to the level of high art.

A curious little article on the pros & cons of dust-jacket author photographs.


It’s a selling point, something to get the customer to pick up the book. Something to give a curious reader insight into the mind of the author, via the face?


Some publishers apparently bank on the photo; others could care less—Chronicle Books, for instance—and tend to use, e.g., passport photos and such. Or no photos at all. That’s cool.


Sometimes you just don’t want the photo, the author’s actual appearance conflicting too much with expectation. Or something.


Good fun, all around.

(Article originally spotted in the Chicago Tribune, but up & vanished, rediscovered over at the Southern Illinoisan)