One of my four jobs is to work with Kit Foster at Kit Foster Design. He’s an award winning designer who really knows what he’s doing. (You can check out Kit’s portfolio of designs by genre here.) He’s also one of my best friends though we’ve never met in person.
Occasionally, authors request that their print designs include the price on the back cover. To each his or her own, but I can’t recommend the practice. It’s a bit outdated now. Actually, I don’t think setting the price on the cover was ever a good idea. Here’s why:
- This choice limits the author’s flexibility. If you want to change the book’s price, your stuck with the old one until you contact the designer, get the change made, upload again, get your proof from the printer and ship anew. These logistics are easily avoided by not including the price on the back cover copy from the start.
- Jacket prices are also a nuisance for booksellers who have to cover up the price with a sticker. Booksellers, not publishers, should set the price at whatever they see fit so they can sell books. Booksellers don’t necessarily agree with the suggested retail prices and that price can vary widely over the life of the book depending on its success.
- Aesthetically, I prefer book designs with no trace of commerce and numbers about them.
Your mileage may vary, but do consider leaving off the price on your next paperback or hard cover. It’s a good way to stay limber in the marketplace.