Can You Judge A Book By Its Cover? (Part 1)

I just judged a book by its cover. Of course, by “judging”, I mean that I plunked down $16.95 plus tax to buy it. I wasn’t in the market to buy a book. In fact, I have dozens sitting in my den in a pile of shame.

So what happened? While waiting for a flight in the Delta Terminal in JFK Airport last week I was innocently browsing the book shelve of a kiosk and “BAM!” I saw it. What got me to bend down to the bottom shelve was the image on its cover. I just had to get a closer look.

The book is called “Marketing [Even More] Outrageously Redux” by Jon Spoelstra but what got me was its cover. It depicts a 475-pound sumo wrestler in mid-air about to dunk a basketball ball. He even looks Jordan-esque (i.e., his tongue is sticking out).

Now granted, being a business book helped (I pretty much only read business books). Yet there were many other business books from which to choose, and they didn’t get my hard-earned money.

So why did I buy it? Two reasons. One, for a book marketing book to grab my attention in a sea of books, I thought that this author (Jon Spoelstra) really was walking the walk. It just goes to validate something that I have lectured about for years. The image that you use in an email, newsletter, etc is critical.  Here, the incongruous image of a sum wrestler flying through the air to dunk a basketball grabbed me.

Two, the concept of the book (i.e., how to market “outrageously”) is a topic with which I (and many business owners) struggle.  How do you separate yourself from the competition in a way that cannot be copied?  The sumo wrestler is even wearing a purple “mawashi” (looks like a diaper) seemingly in honor of Seth Godin’s Purple Cow, the top marketing book on getting noticed.

I am signing off now but will return shortly advising whether the old cliché about a book’s cover is true or should be debunked.

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