Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Bad Book Covers and the Streisand Effect

The old saw is you can't judge a book by the cover, but you can sure judge the poor taste of people who design book covers.

Which leads me to the latest fun time-waster I found on the Web. It's a Tumblr site called Lousy Book Covers is a fun way to spend the hours if you don't feel like reading a book, but would rather just mock how bad the cover art is.

The people behind Lousy Book Covers acknowledge they would have toiled away on the site in obscurity had it not been for a shout out from Andrew Sullivan and a stink from a thin-skinned book author.

Apparently, the stink the thin skinned author pulled is example of  something called the Streisand Effect. It's when somebody is embarrassed or offended by something they see about themselves on line or in the media.

They raise holy hell about it, that attracts a ton of attention and suddenly something that would have died a quiet death explodes into the national conscience, futher embarrasing and infuriating the person who complained to begin with.

In the case of Lousy Book Covers, authors and others who don't like having the bad art show are claiming copyright infractions. Though really, it's fair use.

Either the authors don't understand copyright law or they're just harassing the operator of Lousy Book Covers

But no matter, Lousy Book Covers is nice and instructive in how not to design your next big best seller. Hint: Don't hire a cheap artist who flunked Basics of Art 101.  Using dozens of fonts at the same time is a bad idea. A design confusing and weird enough to induce a headache is not going to encourage readership.

If you violate these rules, you will get mocked.

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