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Amazon Paperback - Glossy vs Matte Cover?

If you read and watched my e-ghost unboxing blog and video, you'd know that Amazon and I had quality issues before. However, today I will not be going into the details of that. Instead, the blog will focus more on a new kind of topic - book aesthetic designs.


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Before I dive into breaking down what those terms mean, I just want to remind everyone that there are no right or wrong answers pertaining to art. It's subjective and you should be happy about the decisions you make. Glossy or Matte are simply options provided most commonly. There will also be things such as hardcovers, leather-bound and even holographic covers that I won't talk about because it's not very easily accessible to most indie writers who are looking at e-fiction and self-publishing.

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#1: Genre


Given that matte has a more earthy vibe compared to the vibrant glossy finish, the genre of books can sometimes play a part in this decision-making. If I compare this to makeup, matte would be a natural type of makeup you see Asians prefer, and glossy would be the dramatic type of makeup Americans prefer.

The shiny sheen on a glossy finish can give off a more sophisticated vibe than the matte finish. However, that's not to say one is more professional than the other. In terms of genre, I can say that books with high-tension plots like steamy whirlwind romances and futuristic wars.


On the other hand, historical romances with a more poetic vibe will do better with a matte touch. Slow-paced slice-of-life genres and even eastern cultivation themes can do better with a more down-to-earth cover. This list is not comprehensive, but that's the general suggestion I would go with.


#2: Colour


Believe it or not, some colours were made to shine. The glossy laminate reflects light, while the matte cover does not. It is important to know your cover design and colour palette on top of the book's genre. Colours that are sharp and have higher contrast tend to do better with a glossy finish. Neon colours, digital pixels in high-definition and sharp lines are some factors that can help you decide.


On the other hand, less intense colours that blend well into a cohesive piece of art do better with a matte finish. Matte books give off a sense of comfort so if the colour palette is cosy or homey, that's your cue. A type of art styles that would go very well with matte is handrawn water colours painting.


#3: Target Market

I may not be a marketing expert, but I am a voracious reader. I've owned so many books in my life that my bookshelf broke. I don't have money to rent an office, buy new books or replace my bookshelf, so I've stopped buying books now. However, according to a marketing expert on another blog, these are the typical genre types, and cover finishing explained.

I shall further elaborate why this is so.


Non-fiction, low-content and children's books are normally glossy because the cover designs are usually simplistic. They need to appeal to the audience that the book is more interesting than it actually is with the design more than the content.


Thriller, fantasy and science fictions are also normally with a glossy finish because they are plots that usually drive excitement. Not to mention, many readers of this genre tend to be adrenaline-driven. The emotional investment in such books is short but intense. Not many readers of these genres are very patient. The benefits of reading the book have to come after reading the blurb or not at all.


Contrary to those genres, readers of literary fiction, romance and general YA tend to be a little more patient when picking a book. They are able to enjoy the flow and take time to know the book without needing to know at once what the drama is all about. They enjoy the little things in life and mundane descriptions that they can relate to with humour. Their down-to-earth attitude makes matte covers a typically perfect combination for books of those genres.


#4: Font Style


You have your art, description, genre and target market figured out. The font style is the last thing to consider between a matte and glossy finish. Yes, you might be wondering why this is so important. However, Please refer to the fonts below.


Font Type 1

Font Type 2


Assuming that they are both in the initial stages of design. Given the font types, I'm sure most of us would agree that the sharp texture of font type 1 would do better with glossy. It would give better contrast and a more sophisticated appearance that catches the reader's attention for perhaps a thriller novel.


On the other hand, font type 2 has a rougher outline and gives off a more rugged vibe. It would do better with a matte finish because the colour palette is muted in comparison to the shade of yellow used in font type 1. This font might be used in a teen romance novel and is something teens can easily relate to.


Given the examples above, I hope this blog has been helpful in helping you decide between a matte or glossy finish for your first paperback!


In Conclusion...


There are no hard and fast rules for designing a book cover. Sure, there are recommended guidelines but what really matters is how you feel about it as the author of that book. So, do you prefer matte or glossy?