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Don’t Judge a Book By Its 1200 Covers

Rick WarrenAs far as the book industry is concerned, Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren is the number-one, all-time, best-selling, non-fiction hardcover book in history.   Period.   So you can see why everyone is excited about this November release, The Hope You Need (Zondervan).

Well, not everyone.   Certainly not at the blog, Church Marketing Sucks — yes that’s the name of it and don’t laugh, it was recently rated the 11th most popular Christian blog.

Their point of view, as outlined in this post, concerns Rick Warren’s decision to open the book jacket design up to a $5,000 competition, what graphic designers refer to as “spec work.”

Unfortunately, it’s not such a sweet deal. For the hundreds of designers who spent hours of time on your project, it’s a total loss. These kinds of projects communicate that their work is of little value.

As a double whammy, it’s not a very sweet deal for you, Rick. The quality of work you get is going to be sub-par … because the designers didn’t have the benefit of a working relationship with you the client where they could be privy to all the ideas, expectations, insights and everything else that goes into making a creative project work. In a nutshell: You’re not getting the best work because you’re not valuing the worker.

While the mechanics of getting a book to press don’t often register with booksellers, you really should read the whole article, and if for some reason you can’t then you really MUST have a look at the 1200 contest entries.*  You have to wonder why, given the success of its predecessor, a book that is this important is being put through this bizarre tendering process.

You’ll never look at a book cover the same again.

*That’s about 1,200 as of 1:00 PM EST today.   When first drafted, this article was called, “Don’t Judge a Book By Its 140 Covers.”   A lot changed overnight!

**SEPTEMBER 20, UPDATE:  As of the close of the contest they received over 2,900 entries.   They’ll stay posted online until at least October 2nd, by which time Warren and Zondervan will have to make a decision; unless the ‘winner’ is simply paid off and the cover was already determined.   Sorry for being cynical.


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