Saturday, December 13, 2014

Which Cover Should I Use for the Third Edition of Machinery?

At this point, the only significant work left to be done in producing a POD hardcover of the third edition is adding an index, which the Kindle doesn't have (or need, since it's searchable). And, of course, fixing all the problems that I won't discover until I have a proof copy.

That raises the question of a cover. One possibility is the cover currently on the Kindle page, which was contributed by my agent, where from I don't know. Another is the cover of the Spanish translation with the text changed to English, assuming I can get permission to use it. Which do people here think is better? Other suggestions?

Kindle Cover


Spanish Translation Cover


Here's a third possibility, from someone reading this post on FaceBook



31 Comments:

At 4:50 PM, December 13, 2014, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Kindle one. The other one looks cheap and cheesy.

 
At 4:52 PM, December 13, 2014, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I also like the top one. As much as the one with the egg and the flag is a really fun image for an anarchist, the text above it doesn't feel balanced. Also, the top image looks more classy and subtle, like it might be better for preaching to the non-choir.

 
At 4:57 PM, December 13, 2014, Anonymous Zach said...

I like the Spanish one. More creative and eye-catching than the Kindle one. Plus, the white text doesn't go all that well with the background of the Kindle version.

 
At 5:06 PM, December 13, 2014, Blogger Nancy Lebovitz said...

The top one is prettier. the bottom one is more striking, but the title is badly placed.

If you can get the rights to the cover from the Spanish edition and a good graphic designer for the text, I'd go with that.

 
At 5:30 PM, December 13, 2014, OpenID whswhs said...

The one with the egg and flag looks too cartoony; it doesn't suggest that it will offer a serious intellectual treatment of its topic. I would go with the other one, which looks like an actual academic book, at least.

 
At 5:42 PM, December 13, 2014, Anonymous Anonymous said...

bottom one looks more like an amateur ebook cover. I'm not a fanatic about the top one, but I definitely think it's the better of the two.

 
At 5:45 PM, December 13, 2014, Anonymous Francesco said...

Top. Bottom one is a nice idea, but wasn't really developed enough to be visually appealing as a book cover.

 
At 6:08 PM, December 13, 2014, Blogger Noah Siegel said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

 
At 6:08 PM, December 13, 2014, Blogger Noah Siegel said...

I associate the black and gold "flag of anarcho-capitalism" with those who think they have discovered some kind of deontological Truth, and the kind of people you reference in the poem at the beginning of Part IV. You have resisted that kind of tribal groupthink, and you should reject that cover.

 
At 6:13 PM, December 13, 2014, Anonymous Mauro Mello Jr. said...

The Kindle one (consider changing the font color to improve contrast with the background).

The egg one looks cheap. Also, the world is round and the book applies to other places than the US only.

 
At 6:49 PM, December 13, 2014, Anonymous Jerry Livings said...

I like the top one but I question what the image of the brick wall. What does it mean in regards to the content of the book?
I will admit I am not a person that does this professionally.
My way of reading is that I am always happy to find at some point that the cover art ties into the book. Strange but that is just me.

 
At 7:48 PM, December 13, 2014, Blogger Chris Bogart said...

The egg and flag one is extremely cheesy, and dog-whistles conservative US readers in a way that I think mismatches the radical proposals of the book. The stone one is interesting but I don't know what it refers to. I like the gears best.

 
At 7:52 PM, December 13, 2014, Blogger Chris Bogart said...

On further reflection, I still like the gears idea best, but they don't actually work -- the teeth don't fit. That should be fixed :-)

 
At 9:24 PM, December 13, 2014, Blogger Richard O. Hammer said...

I've tried and found it very difficult to give a graphic image of libertarian ideal.

I think it is difficult because it is the unseen. It is what we can not know, do not know how to recognize, and do not have a name for — until it is discovered through freedom.

 
At 12:28 AM, December 14, 2014, Anonymous Toby said...

Who do you want to reach with this book?

(1) The first and third cover are a bit dull and are unlikely to attract attention in a book store;

(2) The seocnd cover doesn't cover the contents for most audiences as they might presume it will be a defense of American capitalism with all its flaws. It's also not very serious. I would probably skip such a book in the book store if I didn't know somewhat what you stand for.

I like the third cover most. Though I think that the second cover will get you an audience that is somewhat sympathetic to your message but hasn't heard of you. The audience that will be tempted to pick up the book and read it, is likely larger than the audience that will be deterred because of it. The second cover might therefore increase sales compared to the other two, and reach an audience that can be nudged more towards the view espoused in the book.

 
At 12:30 AM, December 14, 2014, Anonymous Toby said...

BTW why not experiment with it? Can you not do some testing on Amazon or some other platform with how each cover sells?

 
At 12:46 AM, December 14, 2014, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Third version is best

 
At 1:26 AM, December 14, 2014, Blogger Tibor Mach said...

I like the third one. The second one is a little bit "pulp literature" like, also not all readers of Machinery are American, so they cannot much relate to the colours (and the book is not really very US-centric either).

The first one is a little bit messy, the picture is too structured and the font looks a bit cheap.

The third one is very cleanly designed, perhaps the colours or some details could be changed, but overall I think it is much better than the other two already. I also like the idea that the wheels are not completely connected and there is one little wheel still missing :) But maybe I am over-analyzing it now.

 
At 1:30 AM, December 14, 2014, Blogger Tibor Mach said...

I also agree with Noah completely on the "flag of anarcho-capitalism". It is simply mostly wield by Murray Rothbard fans, or generally people who "know they are right and everyone else is either stupid or evil".

 
At 3:03 AM, December 14, 2014, Anonymous Anonymous said...

may I suggest a combo of the kindle and the third.i think the kindle is more modern but the steps are boring and the design and the gears on the third is too simplistic...ms paint level.just googling 'gears' yields some very nice pics
see:

>http://www.mrwallpaper.com/wallpapers/gears-mechanism.jpg

>http://cdn.wonderfulengineering.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/gear-wallpaper-6.jpg

if the choice is only between the three, than the kindle

 
At 7:01 AM, December 14, 2014, Blogger Carl Edman said...

I like the third one and the first one is ok. The second one is too US centric (and cartoony) for the subject of the book.

And thanks for releasing the third edition! I am rereading it now and am reminded of all the great insights I got from reading the first edition thirty years ago.

 
At 7:21 AM, December 14, 2014, Anonymous Peter Wiz said...

I don't like the cover with the flag with the dollar sign on it and the American egg for two reasons: the dollar sign is associated with Ayn Rand and objectivism, and piggish greed; the American flag implies that the book's thesis is particular or exclusive to the U.S., which isn't true. The other two pictures are OK, but nothing to write home about. Perhaps a picture including two hands in a handshake would be good as it expresses the essence of your thesis which is that voluntary agreements lead to more optimal outcomes than politics.

 
At 9:18 AM, December 14, 2014, Anonymous Brian Albrecht said...

The final one is by far the best.

 
At 9:44 AM, December 14, 2014, Anonymous Chris Hibbert said...

I like the photo in the first one best, though, like Jerry, I don't understand the significance of the brick wall. The other two look cheap to me. Getting the subtitle on the cover is important, I think.

 
At 10:27 AM, December 14, 2014, Blogger Mike Lorrey said...

Kindle is the best of the three but not the best it can be. If you want a free better design just ask.

 
At 10:31 AM, December 14, 2014, Anonymous Simon said...

The top one is beautiful and intriguing. Another idea would be to have something suggestive of organic order and self organization. Maybe fractals or cellular automata?

 
At 11:59 AM, December 14, 2014, Anonymous AbsoluteZero said...

I asked a friend of mine who is a graphic designer and who just read the book (I introduced him to it). He came back shortlyt with this:
http://imgur.com/w8pcpdz
His comment: "A little crude, but you get the idea."

 
At 2:06 PM, December 14, 2014, Anonymous Shawn Decker said...

At the risk of making things more complex than they need to be, I do have to say that I really like the cover image suggested in AbsoluteZero's post. I say this because I believe that it combines elements of the first and third images (the Kindle and the Facebook images) in an interesting and balancing way. Here is why I say this using the strengths and weaknesses of the original images.

First, I suggest that the advantage of the Kindle image over the other two is that it incorporates an image from "the real world" as opposed to something that is a bit artificial (which is how I view the other two). Further, the Kindle image seems to suggest a view "back" into the history of mankind in this world.

With respect to the second image (the Spanish edition), I would reject this along the same lines that others have posted here.

In terms of the third image (the Facebook cover), I like that the graphics (the watch gears) do reference the word Machinery in the title. However, I don't like this could suggest to a new reader a "watchmaker" view of the world.

When I view the image given in AbsoluteZero's post I tend to create a different story in my mind. The image of the sunrise creates a sense that the book is about the real world. Further, the fog over the landscape indicates that the image is of a sunrise, as opposed to a sunset. To me, this suggests looking forward in time as opposed to looking back.

Further, with the inclusion of the watch gears over the landscape, it does suggest something in addition to nature. Perhaps an order that, while similar to, is distinct from the order of nature. Maybe an order that is created by man. Or, better yet, an order created by the nature of man.

A tweak that quickly comes to mind might be to think if there might be a different image that can modify the impression of the gears. The watch components are good but, similar to my argument above, can suggest a high degree of engineering with might be counter to much of what you discuss in the book. Perhaps what might work is to have an image that consists of very primitive (representing the ancient or historical) watch gears that transition to highly refined and engineered watch gears (representing the present or the future). In essence, an image that suggests the emergence of a highly ordered system from a very basic or primitive past. And, further, one that is based on the nature of man as opposed to the nature of the world.

A gifted artist might be able to creatively use different materials for the gears (say progressing from stone to copper, to bronze, to silver, to gold, to titanium, to glass, to the shiny, reflective surface of an integrated circuit ... to however far one might want to go with this) to suggest the evolution over time in the degree of engineering to the machine (and also, note, reflecting the progression of mankind's knowledge and abilities in the field metallurgy ... and also mirroring the progression of money .. including bit coin). In this way, one might also discuss how the image of the watch refers to two of the main intellectual activities of man ... the investigation of the world that we refer to as natural science (chemistry / metallurgy) as well as the one that we refer to as social science (economics / money). How one works philosophy in there ... well, we will have to think a bit about that.

Finally, I have to agree with other commenters that the three original images do have a bit of a "textbook" feel to the covers. I do not get this with the font and composition of the image referred to in AbsoluteZero's post.

 
At 2:56 PM, December 14, 2014, Blogger David Friedman said...

I like AbsoluteZero's version too, although it should be "Guide to a Radical Capitalism" not "a Guide to Radical Capitalism."

I've decided to announce a contest for covers on my next post.

 
At 9:48 AM, December 23, 2014, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If a cover's primary purpose is to attract attention, the middle one is it.
It has color.
It is more eye-catching, though the other two are good for purely intellectual reasons.
Michael Morrison

 
At 3:13 PM, December 31, 2014, Blogger Kim Mosley said...

I like the third one best, but I'd like to see people in the cover. The first one makes me scratch my head wondering what the facade has to do the machinery of freedom. The second one looks like it is something from the Tea Party. And the Machinery of Freedom is not just about the United States. The third one talks about machinery more than freedom. This is a neat opportunity for someone to express visually what freedom is all about.

 

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