Craig Mod ponders the future of book cover design in the age of digital texts:

“I like to think that digital is forcing our hand back into this classic, holistic book design ethos. An ethos that considers the design of a book in its entirety instead of in pieces.

The covers for our digital editions need not yell. Need not sell. Heck, they may very well never been seen. The reality is, entire books need to be treated as covers. Entry points into digital editions aren’t strictly defined and they’re only getting fuzzier. Internet readers don’t casually stumble upon books set atop tables. They’re exposed through digital chance: a friend tweeting about a particular passage — and linking, directly, into that chapter.

I wrote about this very phenomenon in A pointable we, a series of essays explaining why it’s critical for publishers to understand the way in which digital texts are discovered and what happens when you wrap them in the wrong interfaces:

This lack of platforminess is what makes many iPad magazine apps impotent. They end up in no better a position than a printed magazine. There are no routes by which you can directly get to their content. You can’t point in. You’re forced to go through the “front door” to get anywhere. And it’s a door usually weighing several hundred megabytes and infuriatingly difficult to unlock.

To treat an entire book as a cover means to fold the typographic and design love usually reserved for covers into everything. Type choices. Illustration styles. Margins and page balance.”