Sunday, November 18, 2007

More thoughts on LOOKYBOOK

I have been thinking about the LOOKYBOOK site for the past few days and have come to the following conclusion. A picture book is different than a novel. Most novels are only read once, but a picture book must stand up to multiple readings. I read to my daughter each night and she has her favorite books (currently TIPPY, TIPPY, TIPPY, HIDE! by Candace Fleming, Illustrated by Brian Karas). I don't think that a small version on a computer site will replace the physical book.

I think that the LOOKYBOOK Site is a great way to introduce books to the market. Especially books from new authors & illustrators. My first book Un-Brella came out in April and spent a few quiet months with its spine displayed at B&N. Then B&N returned the books to the publisher. As a new author, I need my book to be seen and now it isn't in the stores. The only place that it will be seen now is in libraries.

I think adults that purchase picture books buy what they know, like Eric Carl, because they already know what to expect, it is a safe purchase. This is a hard market to break into.

Right now I am leaning towards having Un-Brella on the LOOKYBOOK site. It is professionally done and I think it is a great idea. I have contacted my publisher to make sure I am not stepping on any toes by having my book listed.

This site is no different to me than a soft chair in a comfortable environment. Brick and mortar bookstores already provide this. I am sure that there are people that go to the bookstore and read the books there without purchasing, but most people buy.

Please keep this conversation going.

Scott E Franson


Craig said...

Lookybook came from my realization that books fall out of sight as a natural process of the retail world, not necessarily because they aren't good books. My publisher got tired of explaining to me that it they couldn't do much more for my Stanley books in terms of keeping them on the shelves. Like every other author/illustrator that spends a year making a book, I didn't want to except that the lifespan of the book should be dictated by the market's limited bookshelves. I know of about a hundred books from my fellow illustrators that you can't find in a bookstore, that in my opinion, are special books and should be seen. Ever seen Michael Bartalos' Shadowville or Ward Shumaker's In My Garden, or even Milton Glaser's The Big Race?

A miniature version of a book on a computer screen won't ever compete with the experience of curling up with your kid and a well-worn book. But it sure makes it easier to think about buying it, not to mention discovering a book you might have trouble finding in a store. You can't buy what you can't see.

I would love to see Scott's Un Brella on Lookybook. The cover looks great but...

Craig Frazier

June said...

I know many illustrators who have been discussing Lookybook since it was mentioned on PW and we all seem to have come to the same conclusion as you.
We are feeling the low resolution and smallish image is not quite enough to replace a real book, but is enough to tempt one to buy it.

With a picture book often having a shop shelf life of less than 3 months, surely this exposure can only be helpful! I hope its effect will be to keep titles 'in print' for longer, and open eyes to books that otherwise might have been missed.

Andy J Smith illustration said...

I tend to agree with the positives about LookyBook and that it is never going to replace physical BOOKS. I'll go a step further and say it will likely encourage sales rather than prevent them.