Here's part of last week's announcement from The Penguin Blog:
According to consumer research conducted on what factors matter to people when they decide whether or not to pick up a book in a bookshop, the cover design comes out as most important. So this might be the stupidest thing we've ever done.
However ... Just over two months ago I was standing in the corridor talking with my boss about books, and suddenly we had a new idea: why not publish our favourite books without front covers?! And that's what we're doing. It's been a secret project with about seven people involved, and from the idea two months ago we now have six books that are ready to go into the shops and onto www.penguin.co.uk at the end of November.
In essence, we've started a new series because if the first six work we'll publish more. The series was named My Penguin by our rather marvellous Creative Director, who came up with the name after about two minutes.
Uh...catchy name. But my gut says this approach won't sell a lot of books. This is one of those cute things that you smile at and then forget almost immediately.
The books' titles and authors' names appear only on the spines. The front covers are white, and are unmarked except for a tiny Penguin logo in the lower-right corner. Here's what a copy of Jane Austen's Emma looks like.
Penguin is inviting anyone who creates a cover to scan it and send a .jpg file to be added to this online gallery. There are already about a dozen bookcovers up. (I like the "Hangman" cover for Crime and Punishment.)
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