Today I was sent a link to an old (2008) blog post called “The Future of Girls’ Comics” by Rivkah, the author of the “Steady Beat” series. A lot of the frustrations within the post were very familiar to me- but there was one point that really caught my eye:
Don’t underestimate the importance of the spine. When I was designing book covers for my publishing company five years ago, was it the front I gave priority? No. It was the spine. Consider it a miracle if you get your book to face outwards for more than a week . . . if at all. It’s the spine that you have the .08 seconds to grab the attention of your readers. It should be at the very least, readable, at the very most give a reader a clear idea of the style and content of the book itself while lending some sort of appeal for them to pick it up.
I think that this is an excellent point and something which I recognise within my own comics browsing and buying “stratagem”. Thinking particularly of my preferred comics store (Travelling Man, Newcastle, other comic shops are available) the manga titles are shelved in a very tightly packed manner, with only a handful of latest-in volumes actually displayed so you can see the cover.
If I don’t like the spine of a book I don’t pull it out and look at the cover. If I don’t take it off the shelf I don’t buy the book. It’s that simple. And I actively want to spend money on the girls’ comics sector!