My theory

I have a theory about writer’s names and titles on covers of books. I have observed this trend over the years and come to this conclusion. When an author is first published, the name of the book is given prominence. So the name of the book is in bigger font than the name of the author. Once the writer becomes famous his name is the one in bigger font than the title of the book. In the middle, when the book and the author are becoming famous, the name of the author and the name of the book are in the same size.

Having said this, I will also say that there are exceptions. The HP books are the biggest exceptions. J.K Rowling’s name hasn’t been changed to a bigger font since the first HP book. But in majority of the cases, my theory still stands.

Let’s look at an example cover that would prove my point.

<-The cover of Norwegian Wood, (written in 1987, translated in 1989) in 1996 – when the author was just beginning to be prominent in the English speaking world – has the name of the author and the title of the book is practically the same size.

This is the same book Norwegian Wood but in 2000. But this time, Murakami was well known in publishing circles. ->

<- When I bought the same book last year (2004), the name of the author was really prominent.

12 thoughts on “My theory

  1. AFJ, thats a nice observation. I think its the basic business sense of building “Brand Equity”. Once the author establishes himself, his name becomes the selling point for his books 🙂

  2. i must say you notice stuff around! i cant stay without books but never really noticed this, ever! and it makes sense!!


  3. agree with navin. also harry potter isn’t just an exception in that sense.. harry potter is the bigger brand than Rowling. any kid will know harry potter not so with the Author (that’s my guess)…

    interesting observations, tho..


  4. Makes perfect business sense AFJ,,it’s a gamble and u wanna play ur cards well. WHen u have clinched ur righful palce in the world, nuthign matters from that point! And yup, I agree with ASUPH’s theory, Harry Potter is a bigger brand, eventhough Rowlings is the creator. That happens…Like Garfield the famous at pudgy lazy adorable cat,,,though ppl might refer to Jim Davis,,it is Garfield who steals the show.


  5. This has to do with the importance of typography in the public space. That is why reading Gagne and his take on typography is relevent if you are involved with the written word in any medium.

  6. Hmmm, interesting. I always knew about the title of the novelist being bigger, but this theory shows the entire thing in a new light now.. interesting indeed! 🙂

    BTW, did you receive the link I sent you yesterday? It has the entire collection.. plz confirm it for me, will u? 🙂

  7. For me, title of a book matters a lot…when ever I have to select a book out of a pile, I follow the punch of the book titles…I have not regreted so far…

  8. I have never really noticed this. But now that I have read this, I am going to do some snooping of my own. I guess once the writer becomes famous its the name that sells the book not the content within. Exceptions are there. 🙂

  9. Naveen: Exactly! Thanks!

    Rohit, Rita: Thanks!

    Asuph: You may have a point there!

    AquaM: Another good example, Garfield. Thanks!

    Mrudula: I want to learn about typography. Any suggestions?

    Abaniko: I did also notice the citation. But left it for another post.

    Phatichar: Thanks. And thanks so muchhhh for “Tintin in the Land of the Soviets.” I have been eyeing it for months. Did you send anything else?

    Aklanta: I agree with you. I have been known to pick up books based only the cover. But have never regretted it.

    Anthony: Quite right! They should have. But I don’t know a thing about the book trade.

    Zee: I agree! That’s what I have been trying to say.

Let me know what you think.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s