I’ve been walking around with my blood splattered copy of Hearsick for the last couple of days. It’s elicited some interesting looks and comments from my coworkers. “Why does you book have a bloody hand print on it?” being the least of the questions.
The dark red blood spots and prints on the stark white cover are startling in appearance. Beautiful from a design standpoint, but not a common look for most books (it’s no wonder my coworkers notice and comment on it), but it got me thinking.
What is the first thing you notice when you see someone reading a book?
The first thing I notice is, hey, a book. Not an iPod or a Blackberry or a cell. A thing with words and pages, egad!
It doesn’t matter what the book is text/genre/manual, my interest is immediately captured. I try to guess what it is or catch a glimpse of the cover. I study the reader’s face, and watch how they react to the words they are reading. Is it funny or sad? Does the reader look bored?
Next I move on to the size and condition of the book. Hardback, trade or mass market? Does it look well-read and used or new? Is there a sticker that indicates where it came from?
When I was a bookseller this information was important, and I would use it to generate an order list or figure out how many people bought their books from my store. My MAX rides were lessons in observation and detection (not to mention filled with amusing sights from Portland life) and this book attentiveness (if you will) boiled over into my everyday life. Now it doesn’t matter where I am or what I’m doing, if I see someone reading I want to know what it is, I want to know why they’re reading it, and I want to know if they’re enjoying the moment.
That enjoyment is what keeps me from walking up and just asking, of course. Also why I try not to blatantly stare as it tends to freak people out and then they would get up and move, keeping me from figuring out what they are reading.
Anyway, my little book games aside, what is the first thing you notice about the book when you see someone reading?