At the real life BEA, publishing CEOs took part in a panel on "the Value of a Book."
From the Publisher's Weekly overview of the panel: "Getting back to the panel’s official subject—what the value of a book is in today’s market—Newberg [an ICM executive] mentioned a new Steve Martin novel that Grand Central is publishing this fall, An Object of Beauty. With its vellum pages and high-quality jacket, Newberg said the book must have cost Hachette a fortune to produce. Yet she was confident that “if you make a beautiful product, they will come.” Prichard [Ingram CEO] disagreed. “People around books care [about that sort of thing], but the vast majority of readers don’t.”
Um, Mr. Prichard, aren't the vast majority of readers "people around books" too? I dunno exactly who the "vast majority of readers" are, but I do know that, when I buy books for children and grown-ups for presents, I buy beautiful ones (unless I have specific instructions). Like the -ology books, for instance. They look like presents.
I have bought myself new books just because they are beautiful. Not very often, but sometimes. Last fall, for instance, I bought us a copy of Odd and the Frost Giants, by Neil Gaiman, in large part because it was such a nice book qua book.
And I'm all in favour of the shinny bits and the embossed bits and the pretty bits on the covers of so many fantasy books for kids, and the nice thick paper being used--what better way to send the message that books are important and special?
Anyone else bought any books recently because they beautiful?
(for more Armchair BEA participant posts, visit A. BEA Central here!)