Business book cover design – is it really that important if the information inside is awesome?

As it turns out, it’s almost just as important if you want people to buy your book.

We’ve all been told to never judge a book by its cover. It’s sage advice that can apply to many parts of life, but ironically we still do it when it comes to books – including business book covers.

It’s human nature. You look online or browse a bookstore, and the first thing we see is the cover (or spine, which is technically part of the cover).

Our brains make an instant decision to either investigate the book further, or move on to something else that catches our eye. This applies to books across all genres, including business books

How important is the cover to selling books?

Thousands of business leaders around the world have written books that share their story of success. They also provide important, valuable tips for business owners or sales professionals to build value within their careers.

Many business authors spend countless hours developing the content of their book, but struggle with the concept of business book cover design once it’s time to publish.

That’s because great cover design involves so many elements, including cover image, font, colour, and more. There’s also the spine and back cover to consider, as well as font type and size for the interior content.

In fact, according to Alexander von Ness, who has designed thousands of covers with his company Nessgraphica, book cover design can make the difference between a modestly selling book and a bestseller.

“I remember one client whose book was selling about seven copies per month,” he says. “After I redesigned the cover, and with some extra marketing efforts on the part of the author, the same book was selling almost 2,000 copies per month.

“Trust me, the results can be surprising!”

What’s the most important part of a book cover?

 So which element of business book cover design is the most important? You might think it’s the image, but Alexander shares with us why cover typography is the most crucial part to get right.

“Nothing is as important as font choice and its placement on the cover,” he says.

“If your typography is wrong, there is no point in having a great design with the best imagery. I sometimes send my clients the same design with different typography to prove to them how important it is in the overall design. The typography difference was so powerful that each cover was sending a completely different message!

It was a very helpful exercise that helped us choose the most appropriate font for their subject matter.”

In the below image, you can see the impact that different fonts have using the same copy on the same book. Which one resonates most with you?

business book cover design

Know your target audience

 Alex also says that book design doesn’t involve reading the book beforehand, but rather more about getting to know the author’s goals and target audience.

“If it were necessary to read every book beforehand, I’d only be able to design a few book covers per year!” Alex says. “In most cases, I will ask the author what they want and expect from their book cover. My most important task is to connect the book and its message to the target audience with a professional cover design that will maximize sales.’

Of course, to do that the author needs to know their target audience

“Many, many authors tell me that their target audience are males and females from 7 – 77!” Alex says. “This simply cannot be the case. We need to have a strictly defined target audience in order to make the most attractive, effective cover possible that will draw the reader in.”

What about the book’s interior design?

Along with the exterior elements of book design, interior font choice and layout also play an important role in providing a positive experience for readers, as does the interior page layout.

“The interior layout should be readable for everyone,” Alex says. “The font should be clean, legible, and of an appropriate size as well, especially since so many people read books on mobile devices these days.”

Entrepreneurs are notorious self-starters, and with all of the free online tools available to make creativity easier, authors might be tempted to use Canva or similar applications to create their book cover. Alex applauds this, as it means that authors on a lower budget can still get a book cover, but also stresses that hiring a professional designer is imperative if you have serious intentions with your book.

“The book cover culture is developing in a positive direction,” he says.

“Awareness of the importance of book cover design is growing every day, especially within the business community. Every tool or application, including those used for design, editing, and proofing books, can only be beneficial for us who are engaged in the book business. These tools are useful to a point, but if your goal is to sell a lot of books, hiring specialists will make a huge difference in your sales results.”

About back cover copy

Also, don’t forget about the back cover copy, especially when it comes to your summary.

Back copy isn’t meant to be creative, but more resembles marketing copy as it’s completely geared to sell your book. It’s a small detail, but like all the other steps to creating a successful book, including quality writing, deep-dish editing, and attractive business book cover design, every element is important to making your book the best it can be.