A few days ago, at BEA, John Green revealed the new cover for An Abundance of Katherines, designed by 17-year-old nerdfighter Sarah Turbin. The new design cleverly includes the best parts of the book, each represented by a different symbol (my favorite: the footnote on Green's name). But if Craig Mod's theories are correct, readers who choose to buy An Abundance of Katherines for their ereader will hardly ever see the cover, except as a tiny icon on their shelf.
In an in-depth blog post, Mod talks about the impact of ereaders on book design. As ereaders become more prevalent, covers, endpapers and slipcases become more irrelevant.
"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."
On an ereader, most readers interact with a cover merely as a small icon, one or two hundred pixels tall. Now that an estimated 29% of American adults own an ereading device, how can we use this to our advantage? Mod has some interesting ideas about how we can "hack the cover" to make digital book covers do things that physical book covers never could.