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Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Novel Theorem #1

On a book cover, the ratio of the font size of the Author's name to the font size of the Title is inversely proportional to the Probability of the book becoming a classic.
A/T = 1/P








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10 comments:

Steve said...

I always like to compare the size of the author's name with the size of the title as well. I actually feel better about buying a book that has a larger or more prominent title than author name. However, from a marketing perspective, i know it's not always up to the author and therefore isn't always indicative of his or her hubris, but rather what the publishing company thinks will sell the book better.

Also, i think you might want to use inversely proportional rather than indirectly proportional.

B.R. said...

The stronger the [literary] merit the smaller the print.

B.R. said...

Post Scriptum:
Insert a [,] between 'clauses.'

Sra said...

Steve: Thanks for the vocab catch. It's been 5-6 years since my last math class.

I'm certain that book designers choose to enlarge whichever component will catch people's eyes best. If an author is well known and well liked, his or her name is more likely to be larger. If a title is well known and the author less so, the title is more likely to be larger. I just think it's fun to judge a book by its cover, so to say.

B.R.: Too true. Although I've read some really bad science fiction with really small print. Still, that's a pretty good indicator of literary merit.

Scottrbarnes said...

Here's my geeky 6:00 a.m. - just completing a graveyard shift - comment: In order to more scientifically derive that relationship, you should standardize criteria by which you judge the book's cover design and relative success. Perhaps you could compare books of a similar era based upon their first publication cover design.

This could be some crazy, crazy marketing/literature study. I'm envisioning all kinds of graphs and statistical comparisons. And publication in some really noteworthy journal. Nobel prize stuff, Sra. Go for it!

Sra said...

Sounds like a great thesis for an undergrad literature major. But alas, I'm moving on to greener pastures, if you can call law school that, and therefore shall have precious little time to explore things like this. So as it stands, I'm satisfied with my current shallow analysis. ;)

Zac said...

There may be something to your theorem. Of course, authors rarely have control over the final cover design unless they're already making a ton of money for the publisher.

A similar cover judgment that usually bears out is that if two authors are listed, the less famous one probably did most of the work, possibly to the extent that the more famous one wrote little more than their endorsement on the check.

Sra said...

Nice addition with the multiple authors thing. Maybe a law should be passed such that listing of authors adheres to the listing of ingredients on nutrition labels: The author who provided the most content comes first, and so on down.

But you'll also notice this with actors billed in movies. My favorite example is The Fifth Element, which lists Luke Perry high in the opening credits, but he's in the movie for all of 15 minutes in the beginning before his character is killed off.

Sra said...

Nice addition with the multiple authors thing. Maybe a law should be passed such that listing of authors adheres to the listing of ingredients on nutrition labels: The author who provided the most content comes first, and so on down.

But you'll also notice this with actors billed in movies. My favorite example is The Fifth Element, which lists Luke Perry high in the opening credits, but he's in the movie for all of 15 minutes in the beginning before his character is killed off.

Sra said...

Steve: Thanks for the vocab catch. It's been 5-6 years since my last math class.

I'm certain that book designers choose to enlarge whichever component will catch people's eyes best. If an author is well known and well liked, his or her name is more likely to be larger. If a title is well known and the author less so, the title is more likely to be larger. I just think it's fun to judge a book by its cover, so to say.

B.R.: Too true. Although I've read some really bad science fiction with really small print. Still, that's a pretty good indicator of literary merit.

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