POD / BOD RIPE to provide access to multiple book cover images for the same book.



Originally posted in "Suggestions".  Reposted here per a suggestion by Community Moderator Glenn_Lulu Community Moderator




[Warning - long post ahead!]


After reading a few prior posts (1, 2, 3, 4) on the topic concerning multiple / alternative book covers, I understand our traditional book publishing industry is founded on one cover to one title with one ISBN.  Got it.  Thanks. Totally understand how the Library of Congress who issues Certificates of Registration prefers to have ONE book with ONE COVER tied to ONE certificate.


Might it be time for ISBN's to be tied to content, author or actual book content (rather than it's packaging - book cover)?  A discussion for another thread (I degress).


For folks who have ever tried to create the perfect book cover - even the most talented book cover professional will attest that one image does NOT FIT ALL.  Ask 10 proof-readers to select from 10 images for ONE book and you'll get 100 suggestions.  (I know, I have asked a host of proof readers to pick from 3 images and I got over 30 suggestions). . .


Given these facts:


1) Lulu's has amazing systems in place to route print-on-demand jobs...


2) consumers enjoy creative ways to customize things from phone covers, clothes and body parts (what's your favorite nail, hair or eye color) . . .


3) No one book cover will ever 'catch the eye' of every potential reader . . .


4) Technology already exists to combine a library of images with a library of content . . .


I wonder.


What IF - for souls who wish to sell books sans ISBN's (or Certificates of Registration) . . .


  • who also seek to engage consumers with a feature to customize their book cover (like folks can do with USPS postage stamps - for example)


  • create (or have access to an app to create) a library of alternative book covers that links to ONE file (book content).

The idea? (Finally!)


To purchase a book (based on it's content), consumers may opt for an alternative cover (from a library of cover images) before checking out. 




POD is slowly shifting the reigns of power from massive traditional publishing houses to a growing band of creative souls.  Examples: the internet has fundamental changed the travel, music, TV and radio production. For authors who seek to engage (and reward) their loyal readers with a few creative book covers, is it time to think differently about book cover art?


  • potetjppotetjp Professor

    Will a customer who wants to use his own cover picture from a picture gallery have to pay a fee to the gallery?

  • The only common situation where this is necessary or a good idea in my mind would be situations like the Harry Potter books. There are a number of different runs with different cover art... and I know a lot of fiction series where they've changed the style of the covers and I would be hard pressed to buy a set matching the first one I bought when they were originally coming out. Having the option to update your cover art while still offering the original for people's collections would be cool.


    That said - releasing a book with a series of different covers from the get-go just because you can? Unless you have a specific set of themes in mind (IE children's cover and adult cover) this seems like a lack of consideration for your own branding and design needs. Unless you're publishing an activity book or some form of extremely generic setup (agenda, journal, logbook) having a variety of covers will work against you. It muddles the identity of your product. There's a reason why large companies spend so much money on design and branding.


    It's a given that you can't come up with something that will appeal to everyone - but that's just a part of design and aesthetics.There's a thousand ways to visualize an idea, but if you offer all of them up, a lot of people won't realize it is the same idea - and they won't be able to appreciate it as much, because it's competing against itself.


    Imagine you went to the grocery store and there were twelve different kinds of orange juice, nine of which are vaguely similar but you don't think you've heard of, two you kind of recognize, and the last of which is Tropicana, which has it's logo in commercials and on its blog and everywhere else and has one memorable identity. Which one are you going to buy? If you have a book in the same situation - how are you advertising? which cover do you show on your blog? On Goodreads? In reviews? In ads? Do you use the same one? How do people know they're the same book? 


    So... It has some applications, but I don't think they're the ones you have in mind. I have a diploma in arts/animation, including some business and design stuff - so that's my educated opinion, anyway.

  • Except for specific circumstances (perhaps for an art coffee table book) would readers care enough about the cover to go through the trouble of picking one? I suspect they just want to read the book.


    As an aside, ISBNs aren't tied to covers. A book can have as many covers as you like without changing the ISBN. From the Nielsen FAQs:


    "A change of cover design with no changes to the content of the book should not have a new ISBN."

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