|Image of book covers with the article in The Australian|
“This cover cliché is not confined to pulp fiction or books that might be described as chick-lit. One of the proposed jackets for a literary novel written by a friend of mine had a woman sitting cross-legged on the beach, her back to us.”
However, it appears that through the title of her essay, Schama seems to be appealing to the large number of women who are employed in the publishing industry (of course she is writing from the perspective of the Western world) and who presumably approve these covers rather mindlessly or indiscriminately. In fact, while quoting “a 2010 Publishers Weekly survey determined that 85 percent of book industry employees with less than three years of experience were women”, Schama wonders if the feminists are only worried about ‘stilettos, shiny lips and fishnet stockings’, whereas the back of a woman is as much used with the intention to titillate the reader.
|Image of book covers published with the article in The New York Times|
I think this is a debate that the publishing editors and book designers will have to settle with the marketing people because it is not really paying any dividend as the slip is showing. However, as the ‘Publisher Weekly’ data above shows, it may be that the women are not in the driver’s seat and mostly doing the job of lower staff (‘less than 3 years of experience as it says).
I have flagged this issue and it needs more probing in the Indian context, because as the things stand now, in the globalised world when all ideas are having a trickling down effect, we may soon have many such back of women staring down at us readers...
Quotations and images from Stepehn Morei’s article are courtesy: http://www.theaustralian.com.au