Book cover marketing FAIL?

I saw these books sitting in a shop window the other day and the first thing I did was laugh. Why? Well, seeing the four lined up like this seemed like a list of clich├ęs.

Photo of book covers

Germaine Greer On Rage? Well, yes, she does get more than a little grumpy, wink wink, eh? (Although as someone asked me, “Greer on Rage? What would she guest program?”) David Malouf On Experience? Yeah, he’s getting a bit long in the tooth, sure… and need I mention the probable subject of Blanche d’Alpuget’s longing in On Longing?

Yeah, time for another nudge-nudge wink-wink there too.

Now Mark Pesce tells me that Greer’s book is written in the context of the NT Intervention — something worth getting angry about. “A cogent book about rage,” he says. “Perhaps an important one. Time will tell.”

Sure, he’s a fan. Greer is an important public intellectual, though, and today’s First Dog on the Moon cartoon explains very well why everyone hates Germaine Greer. But for me the line-up of little pastel covers and the gift-set option tells me this is for people who want to look like they’re intellectuals.

If Greer’s book is indeed important, then it needs to be more than a fetish for someone’s mantlepiece, along with that unread (and unreadable) hardback of Umberto Eco’s The Name of the Rose. And maybe that means more descriptive covers?